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Digital Ads: Expanding Opportunities for U.S. Small Businesses

Digital Advertising: Balancing Regulation and Growth Opportunities for American Businesses shows that small and medium size advertisers and publishers rely on personalized ads to attract customers, drive sales, and earn revenue. The report, based on a survey of 1,600 US advertisers and publishers, comes as Congress considers the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA), legislation restricting data collection that facilitates digital marketing and advertising.


The internet revolutionized how consumers experience media, making it easier for mom-and-pop businesses to use personalized digital advertising – online ads that use basic data such as consumers’ interests, demographics, online behavior, or other data to serve the right ads to the right audiences. Small businesses do not have the multi-million dollar advertising budgets needed for national TV advertising. When every dollar counts, digital ads give small businesses tremendous value for very small investments and the ability to measure the effectiveness of their ads. Thousands of publishers, like bloggers, news outlets, and other content creators, also rely on personalized ads to fund their ventures.

Lead Findings: 

Digital Advertising Offers Small Businesses Incredible Value

  • 82% directly attribute 2023 revenue growth to personalized ads.
  • Most (59%) say that digital ads deliver better ROI than linear TV, radio, print, and out-of-home ads.
  • 69% use digital ads to find new customers.

Losing Personalized Ads Would Cause Serious Harm to SMB Advertisers

  • Nearly 1 in 5 US SMBs would be forced to close
  • 20% of US SMBs would be forced to lay off staff
  • 8 out of 10 US SMBs anticipate needing to cut costs
  • Nearly half (49%) of US SMBs said they would need to raise their prices

Losing Personalized Ads Would Also Harm Small Publishers

  • 37% would face layoffs or closure
  • 45% of small publishers would implement paywalls or move to subscription models 
  • 68% would increase ad volume


In partnership with the Connected Commerce Council and Google, Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 1,200 US small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), 210 large advertisers, and 200 publishers in March–April 2024. 

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