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Net Impression: Really the Most Important Thing for Digital Marketing Compliance?

Posted: January 21, 2023

Net Impression is the Key to Understanding Advertising Claims

I believe it is, for sure. It's the key to developing advertising claims that work for you legally.

Ad claims consist of a marketer's messaging and how a specific marketing message (an ad claim) resonates with consumers.

What are advertising claims?

Ad claims promise or suggest something specific, something measurable, in terms of a benefit (or result).

Think headlines for sales pages - catchy, promising a specific result (dealing with pain points in many cases).

What is net impression for digital marketing claims?

The net impression of an ad claim isn't what the marketer intends the message to be (necessarily).

It's what “reasonable consumers” actually infer the message to mean.

That's “net impression.”

There's another term for it that's not legal jargon.

It's the “takeaway” – what message do consumers take away from the from the ad?

Important? The FTC requires that advertisers substantiate the “net impression(s)” of

an ad before the ad is disseminated, failing which it's grounds for an enforcement action.

Are marketers required to substantiate digital advertising claims?

You're required to substantiate all net impressions in an ad. Every one of them.

For more information regarding substantiation and related issues such as net impression and types of advertising claims,

visit my article: The Ultimate Claims Substantiation Guide for Digital Marketers (+ Examples)

Even if your ad claim is unintentionally ambiguous (capable of more than 1 takeaway).

You're still required to substantiate those too. 

Substantiation and context are also significant. 


Your priority should be to sharpen your skills for parsing your messaging for net impression

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