March 22, 2016


Disclosures – When, Where, and How to Use Them

Disclosures within advertising are to inform the readers that the content they’re about to read is an advertisement. Previously, Nudge created a whitepaper regarding disclosures and custom native ads, where the results were surprising. The most common disclosures were ineffective, readers seemed to indicate a banner blindness to the disclosures. Native disclosures have shown to work best for custom native ads (by that we mean when disclosures were in the content) people’s ability to identify it doubled. We believe that the way to increase awareness is repetition in the article and consumer education, because consumers still don’t fully understand that an article can be an ad.


Read the full version of our White Paper


Why use disclosures?

In order to make businesses aware of what their legal obligations are, as well as let consumers know their rights, disclosures on native ads are necessary to stop fraud and deception online. Parallel with the evolving native advertising landscape, the perception consumers have of ads is also changing. There isn’t just one single disclosure that fits every ad, which is why brands and advertisers have to be aware of the rules of disclosures while creating and publishing native ads. As long as all the necessary information is clearly visible and not misleading, they have the opportunity to be creative whilst creating ads.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prevents business practices that are unfair to customers or deceptive in some way. To ensure that products and services are described in a correct way online, they enforce the protection laws to benefit consumers as well as sellers, and to complete the whole marketplace.

The FTC provides guidelines of how to follow the law when doing online advertising. First, it’s important to apply your advertising to a wide spectrum of online activities, most of the rules are not limited to any particular media that disseminate it. The advertiser should include relevant limitations and qualifying information into the underlying claim, rather than having a separate disclosure. Clarity and conspicuous are two words of high importance related to the disclosures of native ads. The disclosures have to be obvious and make clear to the consumers that they are reading a paid ad, and advertisers should also consider the placement of it. To create a conspicuous disclosure it has to be visible to the consumer regarding size, form, color, and design. The primary thing is that any consumer should be able to understand if it’s an ad or editorial content. If it’s not possible to make the disclosure clear and conspicuous, the ad should not be disseminated at all.

To make a disclosure clear and conspicuous it has to be:

  • Proximate in relation to the claim.
  • Unavoidable to the consumer.
  • Repeated several times on different locations, if necessary, in order to be visible.
  • Display visual disclosures for a sufficient duration.
  • Presented with an adequate volume if it’s an audio ad.
  • Improved if disclosure is not being noticed of a greater proportion of the targeted consumers.


In our disclosure white papers, we’ve listed four commonly used formats of disclosures:

  • Homepage buyout style
  • Persistent Banner
  • Categorization & unique font disclosure
  • In-content style