What the FTC’s Native Advertising Regulations Mean for Your Brand

We’ve all been there, skimming through headlines when one title in particular catches our eye. We click at the promise of something interesting, but half way through the article we realize it is actually sponsored content, also known as native advertising. While the information within may be accurate, the fact that the article was financed by a particular brand still has the power to make us question the validity of the content within.

Native advertising is one of the biggest players in the current ad economy. With a number of media contenders and publisher offerings, native advertising is now prevalent on major sites and smaller properties alike. Nowadays it is rare to go to any major news website and not find at least one sponsored article promoted in feed.

At Just Media we have seen firsthand the rapid growth of native advertising offerings and vendors. Almost every publisher we work with now offers native ad units or custom content creation. Native advertising provides our clients with a unique way to reach their audiences out on the web and use content as the means of driving traffic back to their site at scale. Additionally, the co-branding opportunities with trusted publishers provides brands with third-party validation and increased distribution. What’s best – most of these placements have performed well!

However, despite the benefits for brands, many users are still unable to tell the difference between a normal article and a company-sponsored post. With this discrepancy in mind, the FTC recently ruled that native advertising will need to be clearly labeled and formatted to look like ads. So what does this mean for the future of native advertising?

It means that the chameleon effect many publishers and native vendors pride themselves on creating will need to be adjusted to make sponsored content easier for the average user to recognize as such. With the growth of native advertising and the success of countless companies in the native space this will mean that the media industry must be more cognizant and careful about how they portray sponsored posts. Clothing retailer Lord & Taylor recently faced legal action for failing to tell consumers that social posts and a publisher’s article were paid promotions (AdAge, 2016).

As new native tactics continue to develop and launch, more regulations and guidelines will surely follow. As a media agency, it is going to be more important than ever to vet vendors and native placements in order to protect our clients.

Anya Rubin-McQuinn
Just Media, Inc.


Marketing Land. (2016). Now That The FTC Has Spoken On Native Advertising, What’s Next? Retrieved from: http://marketingland.com/now-ftc-spoken-native-advertising-whats-next-158262

Practical Ecommerce. (2016). Native Advertising Subject to New F.T.C. Regulations. Retrieved from: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/95839-Native-Advertising-Subject-to-New-F-T-C-Regulations

The National Law Review. (2016). Federal Trade Commission Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements. Retrieved from:


Ad Age. (2016). Mini Law Lesson: What Brands Should Know About FTC’s Tough Lord & Taylor Action on Influencers and Native Ads. http://adage.com/article/guest-columnists/brands-ftc-s-lord-taylor-action-native/303150/



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