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New benchmark for ad compliance rates on websites

6 September 2011

Computer and bookThe Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) Digital Media Survey 2011 published today reveals that the advertising on 95% of websites monitored adhered to the Advertising Code.

The ASA Compliance team monitored 120 websites in advance of the 1 March when the ASA’s online remit was extended to cover companies’ own advertising on their own sites and in their social network spaces. The results of this survey will serve as a benchmark against which the results from a 2012 survey will be compared.

In summary, the survey reveals that:

  • six of the 120 websites assessed included at least one marketing communication that was clearly in breach of the CAP Code; a compliance rate of 95%
  • 22 of the 600 pages assessed included a marketing communication that was clearly in breach of the CAP Code; a compliance rate of 96.3%
  • four of the six websites that included a breach of the CAP Code came from the Entertainment, Media and Leisure sector, and all four related to the misleading omission of mandatory charges (e.g. booking charges) from the headline price.

While the findings are generally positive, the ASA cautions both that it only picked up on obvious breaches of the CAP Code and the number of websites and ads assessed during the survey was relatively small. The broad objective was to establish a general compliance rate across sectors for advertising falling under the extended digital remit.

The Compliance team contacted the website owners whose advertising seemed to breach the Code and sought an assurance that they would amend their advertising to ensure compliance from 1 March 2011. 

Chief Executive, Guy Parker says: “The ASA now expects all advertising online to be legal, decent, honest and truthful. That’s good for the public and it’s good for responsible businesses too.  Our survey sets a high bar for future compliance rates.  In the meantime, we’ll continue to tackle advertising that breaks the rules wherever it appears, while doing all we can to help advertisers to comply”.

Download and read the Digital Media Survey 2011 (PDF)

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