How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising

How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising ?

In the online marketplace, consumers can transact business without the constraints of time or distance. One can log on to the Internet day or night and purchase almost anything one desires, and advances in mobile technology allow advertisers to reach consumers nearly anywhere they go. But cyberspace is not without boundaries, and deception is unlawful no matter what the medium.

So as per consumer protection laws to ensure that products and services are described truthfully online, and that consumers understand what they are paying for. These activities benefit consumers as well as sellers, who expect and deserve the opportunity to compete in a marketplace free of deception and unfair practices.

The general principles of advertising law apply online, but new issues arise almost as fast as technology develops — most recently, new issues have arisen concerning space constrained screens and social media platforms.

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Following guidelines describes the information businesses should consider as they develop ads for online media to ensure that they comply with the law.

1)      The same consumer protection laws that apply to commercial activities in other media apply online, including activities in the mobile marketplace.

2)      When practical, advertisers should incorporate relevant limitations and qualifying information into the underlying claim, rather than having a separate disclosure qualifying the claim.

3)      Required disclosures must be clear and conspicuous.

4)      To make a disclosure clear and conspicuous, advertisers should:

  • Place the disclosure as close as possible to the triggering claim.
  • Take account of the various devices and platforms consumers may use to view advertising and any corresponding disclosure. If an ad is viewable on a particular device or platform, any necessary disclosures should be sufficient to prevent the ad from being misleading when viewed on that device or platform.
  • When a space-constrained ad requires a disclosure, incorporate the disclosure into the ad whenever possible. However, when it is not possible to make a disclosure in a space-constrained ad, it may, under some circumstances, be acceptable to make the disclosure clearly and conspicuously on the page to which the ad links.

5)      When using a hyperlink to lead to a disclosure:

  • Make the link obvious;
  • Label the hyperlink appropriately to convey the importance, nature, and relevance of the information it leads to;
  • Use hyperlink styles consistently, so consumers know when a link is available;
  • Place the hyperlink as close as possible to the relevant information it qualifies and make it noticeable;
  • Take consumers directly to the disclosure on the click-through page;
  • Assess the effectiveness of the hyperlink by monitoring click-through rates and other information about consumer use and make changes accordingly.

6)      Preferably, design advertisements so that “scrolling” is not necessary in order to find a disclosure. When scrolling is necessary, use text or visual cues to encourage consumers to scroll to view the disclosure.

7)      Display disclosures before consumers make a decision to buy — e.g., before they “add to shopping cart.”

8)      Necessary disclosures should not be relegated to “terms of use” and similar contractual agreements.

9)      Display visual disclosures for a duration sufficient for consumers to notice, read, and understand them.

10)   Use plain language and syntax so that consumers understand the disclosures.

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