Platforms and Advertising: Implications of Digital Advertising for Competition and Consumer Protection

This webinar was organized by Concurrences and Analysis Group with Jon Direnfeld (Orrick), Andrew Smith (Bureau of Consumer Protection | Federal Trade Commission), and Aaron Yeater (Analysis Group).

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Moderator, Aaron Yeater (Analysis Group) began the discussion by noting the qualities unique to digital advertising. Digital ads involve a certain reliance on digital data generated by users or collected by third parties to use at some point in a different process. Data is used primarily to target and deliver ads to the individual, and verifying when a sale or conversion occurs as a result of a click or watching a video. The digital environment also increases the flow of information online, which opens up room for more potentially misleading information, whether intentional or not. At the same time there are more opportunities for firms to make disclosures and inform consumers on what they need to know. The choices to be made about what prominence to give those inform a lot of the relationship between advertising and marketing and disclosing information to consumers. Finally, digital advertising in the context of digital e-commerce affords opportunities for smaller firms or entrants to reach consumers they would otherwise not have reached, which is good from a competition point of view, thought it comes with corollary effects.

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