Finally after thousands of complaints by their users the Advertising Standards Agency is now monitoring social networks more closely when it comes to free marketing on these sites.
With over 4,500 complaints since 2008 the ASA will have it’s work cut out. Until now online marketing has not been the remit of the ASA. Now that it is companies that advertise and market on these networks as well as elsewhere will come under closer scrutiny.
As social networks are becoming more and more popular by companies as a free marketing tool the need to regulate this area has become more important. The ASA has increased it’s staff level by 10% to deal with this new role as they expect a high level of complaints to come in.
Whilst the internet has always been about free voice and ability to get your message across to thousands of people at the touch of a few buttons this is an important and needed factor for online marketing in the UK. Unfortunately where regulations are not in place the unscrupulous have always sort to prosper. Now with this agency scrutinising what companies are saying and doing online we will hopefully see an improvement in the use of this free online marketing medium.
Whilst the ASA have always has a responsibility to monitor paid for advertising online it is much harder to monitor and control “free marketing” tools provided by social networks that they will now focus on. No doubt they will have their work cut out and will react to complaints as opposed to randomly searching the social networks. That being the case it will be down to social network users to report misuse of this media and make complaints accordingly.
At iSEV we believe that social networks can be an important part of a wider online marketing strategy and aide our clients in adhering to the ASA regulations at all times.