What is digital material?

An imprint may be required on any digital material, provided the material meets the criteria which are set out in the following sections.

Digital material is material in electronic form that consists of or includes text, moving images, still images, speech or music.

It does not include telephone calls or SMS messages. It can apply to material published in messaging services which do not use SMS, such as WhatsApp or Signal.

The requirement to include an imprint only applies to digital material that is published, which means made available to the public or any section of the public. For example, it would not apply to a private messaging group between friends, or an email sent out by a party only to its members.

If material is made available in the UK, then the digital imprint rules will apply, no matter where the content is published from, or where the promoter is. For example, you could be outside the UK, but publish material on a digital platform making it available to a section of the public in the UK.

Imprints may be required on published material including (though this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Pop-up ads
  • Social media posts
  • Any advert that appears in any website, search engine result, app or social media platform
  • Adverts on internet radio or other audio streaming platforms such as Spotify
  • Adverts on digital TV streaming services
  • Adverts in podcasts
  • Adverts in online newspapers
  • Messages on WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram
  • MMS messages
  • Websites
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Electronic billboards

Definitions of material in scope of the regime may also be updated by secondary legislation to allow for emerging technology.

Last updated: 2 November 2023