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Small Businesses Brief Congress on How Digital Advertising Helps Them Succeed

Washington, DC (May 9, 2023): Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee continued ignoring small business voices in the debate over tech policy in its AMERICA Act hearing. The bill, legislation introduced by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would force large online platforms to break apart their digital ads divisions, making it harder and more expensive for small businesses to advertise online. In a separate private briefing with congressional staffers last week, small businesses explained the value of digital ads that help them earn revenue and grow, and why changing the digital ad ecosystem would hurt their business.

Small businesses often use digital ads because they’re affordable and easy to use. During the staff briefing, Professor Beth Egan, an advertising expert at Syracuse University, with more than two decades of experience helped reinforce this point by highlighting digital ads’ role in helping create a level playing field for small businesses. 

“Small advertisers are the biggest digital advertising winners because it is the great equalizer,” said Professor Egan. “In a recent Data Catalyst Institute survey, 57% of small business advertisers report that digital ads generated more than $50,000 in annual revenue, 82% say digital ads are more effective than billboards and television, and 80% say digital ads help them compete against larger companies.”

Three small businesses took turns educating congressional staffers on the importance of digital advertising to their companies.

“Digital advertising represents almost 75% of my income, so if something happens to that, it would not only be problematic to my business, it would be detrimental — if not business-ending. Knowing all of this it makes me extremely upset that the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t even bother hearing from one small business owner,” said Morgan Overholt of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, who publishes digital ads on her tourism blogs

Ese Ofurhie, owner of Enspire Magazine in New York City, added that any changes to digital advertising laws could make publishing ads on her website unworkable. “If new laws change how the digital ad world works, I worry that it won’t be as easy, affordable, or effective. I can’t afford for that to happen.”

Added Brian Spears, co-owner of Baby Chick in Houston, TX, “I’m not a policy expert, but I don’t want to see the digital advertising ecosystem disrupted because it’s already working so well for me.”

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