Digital Advertising in the Spotlight During National Small Business Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. — During National Small Business Week, small businessowners and creators from across the U.S. will visit Capitol Hill today, meeting with two dozen U.S. House and Senate offices to highlight the importance of digital advertising to the survival of their businesses. 

Proposed anti-advertising legislation in Washington, imposing restrictions or outright bans on customer data and digital advertising, threatens to undo this vital resource for small businesses and their customers, continuing to raise advertising costs, even as inflation and interest rates remain high.  

“Many small businesses would be unable to advertise at all without low-cost, targeted advertising on social media, streaming, and other platforms. While advertising options have become more available and affordable, leveling the competitive playing field, extreme bills like the American Privacy Rights Act put these tools at risk,” said Brendan Thomas, Executive Director of Internet for Growth, the nationwide coalition that includes this week’s delegation to Washington, D.C.  

“Digital advertising and social media provide income for hundreds of thousands of online publishers and creators. Online audiences and consumers will be very disappointed by data privacy bills that might sound nice but would dismantle the ad-supported content, products, and services they enjoy. We’re on Capitol Hill today to emphasize the importance of digital advertising and ensure members of Congress understand the full impact of heavy restrictions. 

“Rather than placing burdensome constraints on digital advertising, the government should enforce laws already on the books and help educate consumers and businesses on how to make their online experiences safer,” said Internet for Growth member Tessa Lucero, a Colorado small business owner visiting Representative Diana DeGette and Senator Michael Bennet today. 

The current draft of the American Privacy Rights Act fails to fix a patchwork of state laws frustrating small businesses, encourages frivolous lawsuits with complex new regulations and a “private right of action,” and adds enforcement and fines at multiple levels of government. The bill could mandate excessive forms and disclosures for consumers, while targeting user-generated content, interactive media, and personalized browsing experiences most people enjoy. 

“In the guise of protecting consumers, this data privacy bill would make the internet a much less consumer-friendly place,” Thomas said. “Most people understand that data exchange is what makes the internet work and simply want to know their information is safe.” 

Internet for Growth members will visit the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitt Romney, as well as Representatives Dean Phillips, Richie Torres, Adam Smith, and more. The coalition is advocating for easy-to-understand national privacy guidelines that would preempt a patchwork of state laws, prevent frivolous lawsuits, and protect digital advertising, marketing, and media for small businesses.  

According to the latest study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the ad-supported internet contributes over 17 million jobs, most of them at small or medium-sized firms, and almost $2.5 trillion to the U.S. economy annually.  


About Internet for Growth  

 Internet for Growth, an initiative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), promotes the crucial role digital advertising plays in the success of America’s small businesses, helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. With the support of over 700 IAB members including marketers, agencies, publishers, and technology providers, as well as hundreds of small businesses and creators, we highlight the benefits of digital advertising to local economies, expanding opportunities for people of all backgrounds. Our work ensures policymakers in Washington understand the limitless opportunity the ad-supported internet provides for creativity, commerce, fair competition, and community.