How Will the DMA and DSA Impact Digital Advertising?

The digital advertising world stands on the brink of significant change with the introduction of the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA). These legislations are set to not only redefine digital services and markets within the EU but also have far-reaching implications for digital advertising and marketing practices globally. This article explores these changes and their potential impacts on the industry.
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Illustration of a scale balancing the DMA and DSA with digital advertising

How will the DMA and DSA change digital advertising?

Increased transparency requirements

Both DMA and DSA emphasize transparency, particularly concerning data collection and usage.

The regulations mandate advertisers to disclose more information about how user data is gathered, processed, and used for targeted advertising. This helps consumers understand their data’s role in the digital advertising ecosystem.

Increased transparency is likely to build consumer trust, as studies have shown that consumers prefer brands with transparent data collection and usage practices.

Data usage restrictions

Focusing on promoting fair competition, the DMA limits how dominant platforms use advertising data. This includes limiting large platforms using collected data to favor their services or disadvantage competitors.

Digital marketers may need to revise online forms to ensure explicit consent for data collection, reflecting these transparency requirements.

Content moderation

Under the DSA, online platforms must enforce stricter content moderation policies.

This will likely influence what content is permissible for advertising, potentially leading to more stringent advertising standards and practices.

Stricter content moderation enhances brand safety, as advertisers are less likely to be associated with harmful or inappropriate content.

What are the implications for advertisers and platforms?

Strategy shifts

Advertisers must prepare to rethink their strategies, particularly in targeting and personalization.

The increased transparency and data usage restrictions could lead to a shift towards context-based advertising. This means moving away from the more invasive personal data-driven approaches. Instead of using past browsing history, marketers might place ads based on the webpage’s content.

Operational changes

Advertising platforms, especially those classified as ‘gatekeepers’ under the DMA, must adjust their operations to comply with the new regulations.

This may include altering their algorithms and data processing methods to ensure fairness and transparency. Regular training sessions might become commonplace in marketing teams to stay updated with evolving regulations.

Illustration of DMA and DSA impact on user privacy

How will consumer privacy and experience be affected?

Enhanced privacy

One of the critical outcomes of these regulations is the heightened emphasis on user privacy.

Advertisers will navigate a landscape where consumers are more aware of their data rights and likely more cautious about sharing personal information.

But this also means that privacy becomes a competitive advantage. Marketers can highlight privacy features of products or services in their campaigns.

Evolving consumer expectations

As users become more informed about how their data is used, their digital advertising expectations will likely evolve.

Advertisers and platforms will need to balance effective marketing with respect for consumer privacy and choice.

Are there any global trends and predictions?

Influence beyond the EU

While the DMA and DSA originate in the EU, their impact will be global.

Major platforms and advertisers operating in multiple regions will likely adopt uniform policies that align with these stringent EU standards, thus influencing global digital advertising practices.

Future marketing strategies

You can expect a surge in innovative advertising techniques prioritizing user consent and privacy.

There could be a rise in the use of anonymized data, contextual advertising, and new forms of user engagement that rely less on personal data.

Shift towards ethical advertising

In the long term, the DMA and DSA can foster a shift towards more ethical advertising practices. This includes greater transparency in advertising messages, respect for consumer privacy, and a more equitable digital advertising marketplace.

The shift towards ethical advertising aligns with the evolving consumer expectations that increasingly value ethical practices.

Illustration showing how the DMA and DSA will create more transparent advertising practices


The DMA and DSA will significantly transform the digital advertising landscape.

As the industry adapts to these changes, you will likely witness a more transparent, fair, and consumer-friendly era of digital advertising.

Advertisers and platforms that embrace these changes and innovate within these new boundaries will be well-positioned to succeed in this evolving landscape.