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The rise in complaints points to increased consumer awareness regarding regulation.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) highlighted that complaints about online ads (of which social media posts and in-app executions are a part) exceeded complaints about TV ads by three to one in 2018. Complaints about online ads were up by 41% from 2017.

The industry body registered about 16,059 complaints relating to 14,257 ads last year. There were 10,773 complaints related to TV ads and related to 5748 unique creatives. In all, the ASA resolved 33,727 complaints against 25,259 ads. This is a 53% increase over 2017. The growth in complaints about online ads is indicative of increased consumer awareness regarding online regulation.

The ASA is currently testing a new “avatar technology” to identify the online ads children are being exposed to. This is so that the ads that flout the rules could be banned.  

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