The regulation of digital advertising: navigating a new horizon

The advertising universe has undergone a complete metamorphosis in recent years. In the past, companies relied entirely on traditional media to establish their presence and strengthen their recognition. However, today, the scenario has been diversified considerably, opening up a range of opportunities, including, of course, the vast world of digital advertising.

We are immersed in a new era in which the Internet gives the opportunity for brands to connect with their customers in a way never seen before. This is largely due to one of its most notable advantages: the ability to segment, which allows you to precisely reach specific segments of society interested in particular products or services.

However, these doors that the Internet opens also expose us to various risks, which makes the regulation of digital advertising absolutely essential.

The Autocontrol organization emphasizes that all commercial communications disseminated in digital media must comply with legal regulations and, in some cases, with specific ethical codes.

In addition, advertising in digital media is subject to general advertising regulations, such as the General Advertising Law, the Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer and User Defense Law. These commercial communications must also comply with applicable regulations depending on the type of product or service they promote, taking into account the specific regulations of their respective sectors. Some examples of digital advertising are:

  • Banners and Display ads are highly visual ads that appear on websites, often at the top, side or bottom of a page. They can include images, text, and links to websites or landing pages.
  • Ads that appear on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others may include text ads, images, promoted videos, and more.
  • Search engine advertising (SEM) appears in the search results of engines such as Google, usually at the top or bottom of the results page. Advertisers bid on relevant keywords so that their ads appear when users search for specific terms.
  • Video Advertising (YouTube Ads): Ads that play before, during or after videos on the YouTube platform. They can be short or long video ads.
  • Ads that are naturally integrated into the content of a website or app are called native advertising, so they look like part of the content rather than traditional ads. For example, ads in news feeds or social media stories.
  • Sending promotional emails to a list of subscribers. These emails may include special offers, product news or updates.
  • Programmatic advertising uses algorithms and data to automate the buying and placement of ads in real time. It is commonly used in display and video ads.
  • Ads displayed within mobile applications (In-App Ads) can be banners, video ads, interstitial ads (full screen) or native ads.
  • We also find advertising in text messages (SMS Marketing), which is responsible for sending promotional text messages to the mobile phones of users who have given their prior consent to receive them.
  • Sponsored ads that are inserted into podcasts. These can be audio ads before, during or after the podcast content.
  • Advertising in video games (In-Game Advertising): those advertisements that appear within video games, either as visual advertisements in the game or as part of the gameplay.
  • Let’s not forget the audio ads that play between songs on music streaming services like Spotify.

Regarding the sending of these commercial communications, it is essential that the user has previously requested or authorized them. Only in this case, the company may send advertising about its products or services. In addition, the possibility must be offered for users to unsubscribe from these communications in a simple way. These rules also apply to sending text messages (SMS) via mobile phones.

Therefore, as we have highlighted throughout this article, it is imperative to have effective regulation of digital advertising. This regulation must cover not only legal and commercial aspects, but also the ethical values that must prevail in the digital environment to ensure a beneficial and respectful online space for all.