Last week the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) extended it’s remit to cover marketing claims made by companies on their websites and in other non-paid for space they control, including social media.

This means companies now have to think very carefully about any marketing collateral they put online to ensure it meets criteria in the ASA’s CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) code.

The ASA has revealed that the move comes after recent complaints where the organisation had been powerless to intervene:

“Since 2008, we have received over 4,500 complaints that we couldn’t deal with, but now anyone who has a concern about an online marketing communication will be able to turn to us. Not only is this good news for consumers, it is also good for business – marketing communications that are trusted are more likely to work and deliver value.”

Honest, transparent and fair

In practice, the new developments mean that companies must ensure all marketing communications (defined as something that primarily sets out to sell a product or service) don’t mislead, harm or offend.

The IAB has been instrumental in bringing about the extension to the ASA’s remit and has released a number of really useful PDFs and guides for marketers who are keen to understand what the developments could mean for their business. These can be downloaded from the IAB website.