New guidance on targeting age-restricted ads online

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is publishing new guidance for advertisers on how to target age-restricted ads responsibly online.

Through content, media placement and audience targeting restrictions, the advertising rules place a particular emphasis on protecting children and young people from potentially harmful, irresponsible or inappropriate ads. Alcohol, gambling and other age-restricted ads must not be directed at children (under-16s) and young people (aged 16 and 17) – depending on the products advertised – and must not appear alongside media where children and/or young people form more than 25% of the audience. Under the advertising rules, advertisers have ultimate responsibility for ensuring age-restricted campaigns are targeted in accordance with the rules.

Audience targeting can be managed using tools provided by platforms, publishers, media owners, intermediaries, and other ad tech companies. CAP is advising advertisers that they should consider the suitability of all available tools to target their campaigns and ensure that other parties involved in developing and publishing a campaign – for instance, agencies, influencers and affiliates – are also aware of and follow the requirements of the audience targeting restrictions in the CAP Code.

The new guidance, developed with insights from industry bodies, tech providers and expert research partners, breaks new ground by providing principles-based checklists to help advertisers and their agencies to limit children and young people’s exposure to age-restricted ads.  

Alongside the guidance, CAP has produced a bite-sized infographic (below). And, as part of its ongoing commitment to protect children and have more impact online, the ASA will shortly be publishing its research findings of children’s real-world exposure to age-restricted ads online. Where these findings suggest more may have been done to reduce the likelihood of children being exposed to age-restricted ads, the ASA will follow up with the relevant advertisers to highlight the checklists in the new guidance.

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An introductory panel from our infographic on targeting age-restricted ads online


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