May 16, 2023

IMTB responds to the Advertising Standards Authority's annual report and details the initiatives the two organisations are working together on to protect the consumer. 


Published today, the ‘one-stop shop’ ASA system’s Annual Report 2022 explores how, with innovative technology at the forefront, the Advertising Standards Authority has undertaken proactive projects that tackle big issues: ads mis-targeted at children; unevidenced green claims; irresponsible crypto ads; and hidden influencer ads. All of which, in the last year, have seen the ASA introduce or prepare new rules and guidance on environmental claims and ‘greenwashing’, online ad-targeting, gambling, telecoms pricing, body image and alcohol alternatives.

Key statistics from 2022 reveal that:

  • 31,227 ads were amended or withdrawn as a result of ASA work (up 53% on 2021)
  • ASA delivered  1,037,037 pieces of advice and training to businesses
  • ASA resolved 33,542 complaints about 21,110 ads
  • 94% of the ads amended or withdrawn resulted from proactive work including through the use of tech-assisted monitoring
  • And 4 out of 5 ads amended or withdrawn were those of SMEs or sole traders in non-paid-for space on social media
  • ASA answered over 6,300 queries for Copy Advice
  • And provided training for 4,800 people on how to stick to the rules

Complaints broken down by media show:

  • Online complaints made up 1/2 of all complaints, but 2/3 of cases
  • 5,318 complaints against influencer marketing ads - up 9% on 2021.
  • 4,044 cases against influencer marketing ads - up 11% on 2021 figures and accounting for ¼ of all online cases.
  • TV complaints made up 1/3 of all complaints, but just 1/6 of cases
  • Outdoor was the third most complained about ad media (1,419 complaints about 530 ads)

ASA has pledged to be more proactive with monitoring influencer marketing content. It will scale its monitoring work using its inhouse machine learning capability, working closely with platforms, and continue to collaborate with the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) and Ofcom on areas of mutual concern.

IMTB working together with the ASA

The IMTB is working closely with the ASA and its sister organisation, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), on the following initiatives: 

  • IMTB is a CAP member - the first new member of CAP in over a decade. We are the only dedicated body to provide direct representation of the influencer marketing sector to the committee.
  • IMTB has created an online resource dedicated to explaining what hidden influencer advertising is, who it affects, who regulates it, and how to stay on the right side of hidden advertising regulation. 
  • IMTB has created two further online resources relating to advertising regulation. One devoted to providing an overview of the ASA. The other signposting and linking to influencer marketing guidance provided by the ASA.
  • IMTB members enjoy compliance peace-of-mind through free access to REASSURE, our one-to-one consultation service with leading legal and regulatory compliance consultancy, Hashtag Ad Consulting.
  • IMTB provided detailed feedback on the Influencers' guide to making clear that ads are ads. The comprehensive guide to ad labelling and disclosure, written in collaboration with the CMA was updated in March 2023. This was after IMTB members had first provided a detailed critique of the document including the provision of potential areas of future attention. IMTB was referenced within the updated guide as a resource for influencer marketing practitioners and creators to seek further guidance.
  • IMTB worked closely with the ASA to sense-check its new Influencer Marketing Disclosure Tool ahead of launch.
  • IMTB was one of a small, select group of interviewees to provide input into the ASA’s next five-year strategy as its existing strategy concludes this year. 

About the Influencer Marketing Trade Body

The IMTB is a professional membership organisation dedicated to building a robust, sustainable future for the influencer marketing industry through increased accountability, governance and a unified voice.

Launched in October 2021 with six founding members the IMTB now has 17 member organisations: BENlabs, Captiv8, THE FIFTH, Fourth Floor, Good Relations,, INCA, R&CPMK, Ketchum, Ogilvy, Open Influence, SEEN Connects, Storm, Tagger, TAKUMI, Whalar and What They Said.

Member organisations sign up to a code of conduct when joining the IMTB. The code articulates specific requirements for members. These are the behaviours that members must demonstrate when they are providing business services and ensure our members are always responsible, accountable, transparent and competent.

IMTB represents influencer marketing on the Committee of Advertising Practice ("CAP") as a member. CAP is responsible for writing and updating the rules on advertising in the UK via the CAP (Non-broadcast Advertising) Code. 

CAP is the sister organisation of the Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA") - the UK’s independent advertising regulator that  administers the CAP Code to keep ads legal, decent, honest and truthful.

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