November 29, 2022
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published their ‘The 100 Children Report’, a study into children’s exposure to age-restricted ads online. In addition to furthering “… societal understanding of the prevalence and consequences of children registering with false dates of birth on social media”, the report serves as a stark reminder to gambling operators that targeting ads using age data is unlikely to be enough of a robust measure in diverting restricted ads away from the view of children online.
The report is the result of a survey undertaken by 1,000 11–17 year-olds, and the monitoring of ads across websites and four social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube) which were served to the personal devices of 97 11-17 year-olds.
With respect to the monitoring of ads, the report captured 11,424 ad impressions (i.e., the number of times an ad was served). Whilst the advertising from a number of sectors is age-restricted and the availability of this advertising is featured within the report, Gambling operators should note the following key findings:
- Of the 11,424 ad impressions, 269 were gambling ad impressions which were served by 24 advertisers to 41 children.
- Of the 269 gambling ad impressions, 37 ad impressions were served by 10 advertisers to 9 children, who registered themselves as under 18 on a social media platform, or on sites which were likely to attract an audience where more than 25% were under 18.
- Of the 269 gambling ad impressions, 171 ad impressions were served by 18 advertisers to 24 children registered as over 18 on a social media platform, or on non-logged sites which were likely to attract an audience where more than 75% were adults.
The report indicates that relying on targeting measures that depend solely on age data is not enough to protect children and young people from consuming age-restricted marketing material – a point the ASA has been making for some time with respect to age-restricted ads.
The report also acknowledges that children registering with an incorrect birth date on social media results in more exposure of age-restricted ads, since social media accounts registered as over 18 were served 47% of the age-restricted ads.
Gambling operators should make use of all tools at their disposal to discern who views their restricted ads and where such restricted ads are placed.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has already provided guidance which indicates that tools like behavioural targeting, monitoring interest and only targeting existing followers on a gambling operator’s social media account, are helpful in directing gambling ads away from children and young people. This report confirms that the ASA’s approach continues to be necessary for the protection of children, even if the number of affected children is not significant.
To find out more about the report, please click here.