How the ASA changes impact affiliate marketing
In March the Advertising Standards Authority expanded the Committee of Advertising Practice to cover the digital sector - the sections that are expanding are:
- Advertisers' own marketing communications on their own websites;
- Advertiser controlled marketing communications in other non-paid for space.
The extended digital media remit will include social media sites like facebook, myspace and twitter. User generated content (UGC) will not fall within the remit unless it is incorporated (solicited or unsolicited) into an advertiser's marketing communication.
With regards to affiliate marketing, all players will be affected - merchants, networks, agencies and affiliates. There is potentially much more responsibility at each level in the chain of affiliate marketing as content needs to be consistent with the ASA code whether it is originated by the merchant, client or affiliate.
It will require a much more co-ordinated approach to the distribution of compliant content and clear guidelines on how offers are to be communicated as well as affiliate responsibility in using and originating copy around merchant offers. The networks therefore need to ensure that there is sufficient contact information for brands and agencies to communicate this to all publishers as well as for agencies and merchants to effectively police their programme when messages need to change.
It is a challenge to the industry and another example of the significance and growing maturity of the affiliate channel.