The Advertising Board Announced Research Report on Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices in Digital Channels!


The Advertising Board (“Board”) has released the "Research Report on Digital Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices" (“Report”) under the project titled “Digital Consumer Protection Project/Phase I: Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices” in an announcement dated January 12, 2024 (“Announcement”).  With the research conducted within the scope of the Report, it is aimed to highlight issues regarding advertising and practices such as dark commercial designs faced by consumers in the digital advertising sector and to raise sectoral awareness. Indeed, pursuant to the Announcement, it was stated that 79% of the files discussed and resolved by the Board in 2023 consisted of advertisements and applications published on digital channels due to the increase in digital advertisements and applications in recent years.

In the report, a total of 1000 interviews were conducted with internet users over the age of 15, residing in 25 provinces, and the research was completed. Within this scope, it was concluded that 48% of the participants extensively utilize digital platforms, and 4 out of every 10 people are influenced by online advertisements when purchasing goods or services. On the other hand, online advertisements and promotions are particularly within the scope of the research;

  • Online advertisements are misleading for 1 in every 5 consumers,
  • Approximately 80.3% of consumers experienced distress due to deceptive advertising.
  • 64% of consumers are not aware of whether the content on websites or applications is an advertisement or real,
  • In online sales with health claims, 1 in 3 consumers made a purchase, and 1 out of 2 consumers experienced distress,
  • It is noteworthy that the use of symbols such as recycling, ecological symbols or the use of statements containing environmental sensitivity in advertisements for goods or services published on the internet influenced the purchasing decision of 64.5% of consumers.

The report also evaluates research findings on digital consumers not only on the impacts of online advertising and promotions on consumers, but also on deceptive commercial practices, social media commerce, personal data and consumer comments.

Within the context of deceptive commercial designs, the fact that 1 out of every 3 digital consumers encountered the problem of service price increase at the last stage of shopping was assessed under the definition of deceptive commercial designs. As a result of the price increase at the final stage, the rate of digital consumers who want to return to the old price by taking actions such as refreshing the page or taking it back is 40%. This behavior occurs as a result of the consumer finding the initial price reasonable. However, the research also revealed that 40% of consumers have bought a product at a high price at least once without realizing it with this behavior.

Within the scope of social media commerce, it is noteworthy that 1 in every 3 consumers, particularly through social media channels such as “Instagram” and “Facebook”, engages in shopping. Accordingly, research results have led to the conclusion that social media itself serves as a commerce channel. On the other hand, it has been stated that consumers are distressed by “fake and deceptive products”, “subscription problems”, “misleading pricing” and “campaign problems” in their shopping on social media. However, in terms of gaming applications, it was determined that consumers were mostly victimized due to reasons such as “forced redirection”, "impenetrable advertisements" or "unauthorized use of personal data".

In addition, it has been determined that 2 out of every 3 users are not aware of the fact that these results are advertisements in the results with the phrase "advertisement" among the results that come up for the consumer according to the searches made on search engines. As a matter of fact, sites with “advertisement” phrases that appear in the top positions are considered to be “the most appropriate content” or “indicators of reliability” for consumers.

On the other hand, the Report states that consumer comments are a source of data for consumers and that these comments shape their shopping behavior. As a matter of fact, it is concluded that 51.62% of digital shoppers read consumer reviews and 78% of those who read reviews are influenced in their shopping preferences.

As observed, the Board has recently scrutinized the new methods that have been used within the framework of advertising and commercial practices carried out towards consumers with the impact of technological developments. Considering the ever-expanding impact of digital advertising and commercial practices, it is foreseen that the Board may increase its scrutiny on the activities carried out in digital channels in the future.

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