While the European Union continues to live up to being the fiercest tech regulator, here in the U.S. we could catch up if legislation named the Digital Services Act coming to a vote in Congress gets passed. The new bill would prohibit companies that take in $20 billion or more in ad revenue from owning all the tech and marketplaces involved in both the buying and selling of those ads. The law would require the Big Four to spin off parts of its global ad business as well as deliver higher levels of programmatic advertising transparency for advertisers and publishers. The fact that the bill has even made it to the Senate shows just how much Americans want a digital advertising industry that is more transparent and less of a black box.
So, what is the impact for us marketers using digital advertising? First, it could lead to safer advertising environments—particularly in social media—because the internet will have less misinformation and earn more trust from consumers. It would mean ad campaigns that are less personalized, at least based on ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation, but the trade-off in favor of brand safety and a more trusting ad environment might be worth it.
It’s becoming crystal clear that consumers want more control over who can and cannot access their personal data as part of the advertising process. One way or the other, the digital advertising industry is going to have to put a higher priority on consumer privacy.