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The Rise on the Ban on Target Advertising
Virtual Roundtable

The time is right for an honest discussion on targeted ads with legislators, startups, SMEs, and NGOs. The virtual discussion “The rise on the ban on target advertising” brought together real-life growth stories of entrepreneurs and NGO’s joined by policy makers for an honest conversation.

The interventions of SME and NGO representatives proved again the premise that targeted ads form the backbone of their growth journey. The engagement at our event showed a sincere interest in searching for a solution with respect to the balance between privacy and keeping Europe as a competitive place to create new innovation and winners.

Now we know for a fact that…

Throughout the event, it became clear and exemplified that the whole lifecycle of a company is paved by targeted ads. From validating a prototype to reaching proof of concept in the early stages to penetrating new markets in the critical-mass stage and finally, as our speaker Michael Ewald Hansen from Lakrids By Bülow shared, by scaling up to become a global brand. Hear Michael talking about importance of targeted ads for local companies here.

Targeted ads are a fundamental part of SMEs’ and startups’ business models. By their very nature these companies do not have the marketing budgets necessary to reach their customers through mass-media marketing or non-targeted advertising, nor do they have the brand recognition necessary for customers to come on their own. Hear Petra Sundell, CEO and Founder of UpBeater speaking of her experience promoting startups here. Hear Merete Gotsæd Falkenstrøm, Director of Fundraising & Marketing of Save the Children about the practical sides of her work when it comes to fundrising and promoting awareness and how targeted ads help here.

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“If we can’t use targeted ads, our clients would have to waste money, money they don’t have.”

- Petra Sundell, CEO and Founder of UpBeater

Although this is a concern we also see positive resonance in the act to phase out the dark patterns and thereby incorporate more free choice. As our spokesperson Michał Boni said “The center of the discussion should be the model and not targeted ads”. Both startups and SMEs share the responsibility to which their customers are not tricked into making undesirable decisions that later have logically negative consequences.

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“The center of the discussion should be the model and not targeted ads”

- Michal Boni, Former Digitalisation Minister and MEP, Spokesperson for the CDA of SMEs

Our future concerns..

The upcoming European Parliament amendments on targeted ads will in the worst case if adopted, strip SMEs and startups of building their dreams and vastly increase barriers of entry.

Higher acquisition costs would make it harder for companies to reach global target groups. We hope that the parliament will stick to the compromise which the committee approved in December. Both to make sure that no startup, SME, or NGO ecosystem is left in uncertainty but also to make sure that the parliament's negotiation strength is not weakened when moving on into the trilogue.

We - startups and organizations - urge you to keep growth and innovation in mind when voting on the amendments and the final DSA text and we call on you to recognise the value of the EU’s existing legal framework for privacy and data protection and to avoid the inclusion of provisions that would undermine it. At last, we urge the European Parliament to have startups', SMEs’, & NGOs’ interests at heart and recognize the importance of targeted advertising.

We thank our speakers

  • Christel Schaldemose, Rapporteur & MEP, S&D
  • Henna Virkkunen, MEP, EPP
  • Patrick Breyer, MEP, Greens/EFA
  • Michał Boni, Former Digitalisation Minister and former MEP, Spokesperson CDA of SMEs
  • Trine Angeline Sig, Partner, HeartCup
  • Petra Sundell, CEO & Founder, Upbeater
  • Michael Ewald Hansen, Ecommerce Director, Lakrids By Bülow
  • Merete Gotsæd Falkenstrøm, Director of Fundraising & Marketing, Save the Children
  • Benedikt Blomeyer, Director EU Policy, Allied For Startups