The Advertising Standards Authority is set to receive new powers to supervise all online marketing, including unpaid promotions through websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The ASA’s extended remit will apply from March next year. The digital remit of the ASA currently covers paid-for online ads and sales promotions. From March 1, 2011, the ASA’s remit will be extended to cover marketing on firms’ websites and online marketing that is not paid for, such as marketing on Facebook and Twitter.
Online marketing will have to comply with the UK code of non-broadcast advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing which includes rules over misleading advertising and social responsibility.
After next March, firms that do not comply may have online adverts removed. The ASA could also place its own online adverts highlighting those firms that continue to be non-compliant.
The news comes after the FSA warned firms in June that they must ensure that social networking pages comply with promotions rules.
IFA Life founder Philip Calvert says that advisers should use Facebook and Twitter for networking rather than marketing.
He says: “IFAs who use social media for marketing are usually using it incorrectly and will very quickly find they are wasting their time.
“IFAs should use social media to network, listen to consumers, add value, share news and expertise and to build a digital reputation.”