The ASBOF levy, charged as part of the self-regualtion of the UK advertising industry, is being extended to paid search advertising in May. We welcome this at Steak as further recognition of the importance of search and digital overall in the wider marketing mix.

This is part of wider changes to the code of self regulation for the advertising industry (called the “CAP Code”), which is administered by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority). The CAP Code will be extended to website content and mobile advertising in September, 2010.

To fund this, a levy will be collected against paid search spend from 1st May 2010 at 0.1%. The levy will be collected by agencies. In addition, Google has agreed to contribute seed capital to this fund for the first two years in recognition of the volume of direct spend handled by the search engine; they had previously refused to collect the levy via their systems. The ISBA, representing advertisers, wrote to advertisers in January 2010 informing them of the change.

This follows a 18 months consultation between industry organisations including the IAB (representing the digital industry), the IPA (representing agencies) and ISBA (respecting advertisers). The extension of the CAP Code was agreed upon as part of the industry’s continuing efforts to ensure self regulation is successful, up-to-date and to avoid any future government legislation. Steak is a member of both the IPA and IAB and sits on their search councils, and has played a part in this consultation.

Please note that FSA regulation is unaffected by the extension of the CAP Code.

Background reading and announcements:

CAP Code and The ASA


If you are a Steak client and have any questions, please contact your Account Director.