Advertising a business online is the new, most efficient way of advertising. Whether it’s for work or entertainment, people spend most of their time on the internet nowadays . They are on their phones, tablets, laptops, or other gadgets linked to the internet.
That is one of the top reasons online advertising has dominated the marketing world for lead generation and become the most influential channel. Like other industries, online advertising has its own set of governing rules and guidelines. This article demonstrates the best rules to follow, where they came from, and how you can increase market shares via online advertising.
Introduction to Advertising Rules
The role of the advertising rules is to instruct businesses on what they can and can’t do and say. They come from applicable state and federal laws. Usually, these rules focus on promoting the truth and ensuring there are no deceptive practices or discriminative content in advertisements.
They aim to restrain deceptive and unfair advertising approaches, demand the truth about products and services from advertising parties, and affirm these businesses’ claims. The line between the business making unaffirmed claims violating the law, and making unharmful boasts about its product, is very fine but clear.
The Federal and State Law and Enforcement
The Federal Trade Commission enforces advertising laws at the federal level. And then, on a smaller level, every state has a consumer protection agency, and its job is to enforce the state’s advertising laws. Plus, businesses with advertisements with harmful influence can be prosecuted by the state attorney general and district attorney, who has that power within their jurisdictions.
The Federal Trade Commission reviews, develops, and enforces federal consumer protection laws. It is also within its power to litigate claims through its Division of Advertising Practices.
General Federal Trade Commission Advertising Rules
- The advertisements that the business would like to publish must be truthful and must not be deceptive in any way
All claims made by businesses in their advertisements must be backed up by real evidence
2. The advertisements must be fair. That means that the ads used must not cause substantial injury that consumers can not reasonably avoid.
The Federal Trade Commission dominates great power in enforcement. It will first try to work out the claims privately with the advertiser who made them. If the advertiser refuses to comply, the Federal Trade Commission can move to sue the company on behalf of harmed consumers. It then forces the advertiser to make and show new ads correcting false, deceptive, or unfair statements or implications demonstrated in previous ads.
The Lanham Act
Just like how the Federal Trade Commission enforces laws for protecting consumers against false advertisements, the Lanham Act allows business competitors to sue advertisers for false advertising privately.
It principally concerns trademark law violations, but competitors can also file lawsuits for false advertisements. For a business to sue under the Lanham act, the following must be proven:
the claims made by the advertiser about a product are factually false
1. the advertisement did or could deceive a large number of the targeted population
2. the deceptive part of the ad was an important one
3. the product shown in the ad was sold across state lines
4. the competitor, the plaintiff, was probably going to be harmed by the deception
5. It is important to know that while the Lanham Act protects consumers against trademark confusion and false claim in advertisements, competitors are the only ones allowed to sue under this act.
The truth policy
The simplest rule in advertising is telling the truth. Simple exaggeration and boasting for a product are expected and mostly allowed in ads but do not use tricks with wording that might deceive the buyer into thinking that the product can do something it cannot.
Have enough in stock
When posting an ad about a product at a discount, ensure enough quantity of the product to reasonably meet consumer demands. If there is a limited amount of the product, then clearly state it in the ad.
When making an advertisement design for customers, ensure you are not violating any rules. And make sure not to push the ad too far, so it starts getting deceitful. Search for regulations concerning online advertisements in the area where the ad will run, and make sure to abide by them.