The Advertising Standards Authority and the Committees of Advertising Practice amended or withdrew more ads than ever before during 2018, it has been revealed in a newly published annual report.

As online cases outnumbers its television counterpart by almost three to one, new projects to be undertaken by both organisations, as part of a new five year strategy, are also outlined, stressing a focus of increasing its online impacts.

Breaking down its annual figures, the ASA revealed it has resolved 33,727 issues about 25,259 ads, of those 16,059 complaints (a 4 per cent jump on 2017) were about 14,257 online ads (a 38 per cent increase), with 10,773 complaints (a 14 per cent rise) about 5,748 TV ads (increasing 23 per cent).

The CAP, which writes and maintains UK advertising codes, delivered 535,478 pieces of advice and training to businesses to help them get their ads right, up 38 per cent year-on-year.

Reviews on a number of actions taken to tackle consumer harms and to protect the financially vulnerable were also looked at, including new guidance on gambling ads to responsibly protect under-18s and rules regarding superimposed text and parcel delivery changes.

Guy Parker, ASA chief executive, commented: “It’s been a busy year, largely driven by complaints and cases about online ads. That’s why our new five-year strategy is focused on strengthening further the regulation of online advertising, and using new tech to protect the public.

“Our recent use of new avatar technology is a taste of what’s to come under the new strategy, and we look forward to working with our partners to increase further the impact we’re having online.”

Amongst steps already undertaken to strengthen the regulation of online advertising, the  ASA recently introduced child avatars, designed to simulate children’s browsing activity – to identify ads that children see online.

An extension of the technology is planned, as is research into further new technologies to help better protect the public, as the ASA states that its avatar efforts have seen ads from five gambling operators banned thus far.

Furthermore, ‘more impact online’ is a new initiative to be brought forward as a direct result of the increasing online habits of individuals, with businesses increasingly targeting internet advertising, as technological developments also continue apace.