Advertising Standards Authority Now Policing Websites

Sarah McInerney

Head of Content

Sarah has almost three decades of experience in crafting compelling, engaging content specifically designed to boost sales and enhance brand loyalty. She’s also an expert in developing unique tone of voice that helps brands connect with their audiences. Her marketing and client service background has given Sarah a natural understanding of how to write content that makes readers take action. Whether it’s signing up to a mailing list, making an enquiry or donation or clicking the buy button, Sarah knows precisely how to convert with words. Pen down, Sarah is a proud member of the Essex Wildlife Trust and spends most of her free time enjoying inspiring walks through her local woodland and nature reserves, admiring everything that flaps, flutters and flowers.

As of 1st March 2011 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) extended their online remit to cover marketing communications on websites and other non-paid for online platforms such as social media sites and blogs.

Before 1st March, their remit was limited to paid-for online advertisements such as banner adverts and search marketing, such as Google Adwords.

What does this mean? In summary, it means any promotional messages on your website, blog or social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook have to be accurate, honest and not misleading. Here’s a quick run down of what to look out for:

  • Claims must have evidence to support them – if you state a statistic or survey result, make sure you have written evidence to support it.
  • Testimonials and case studies must be documented – keep material on file so it can be produced if requested.
  • Special offers and discounts have to be such – if you advertise something at sale price, you will have to prove you’ve sold it previously at full price.
  • Don’t mislead – and don’t hide terms and conditions in the small print. Be up front about what you’re offering, otherwise you could be in for a fine, or a name and shame.
  • Don’t offend: keep it clean and appropriate for your audience.

Take care; the ASA has a strict policing policy which has been operating in other areas of marketing for many years. Follow the rules and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

If you’re unsure of how to remain within the constraints of the ASA rules with your website copy, ask us to audit your site.

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