New actors and risks in online advertising

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Series Details 2022-1, Number 1
Publication Date July 2022
ISSN 2079-1062
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Online advertising funds much of the digital media system. It is a major source of revenue for the online platforms that have risen to the top of not only the digital economy, but the economy as a whole. It also supports the influencers active on these platforms, traditional media organisations, and a host of other digital media companies. The technology and value chain behind the advertising on digital media has grown increasingly complex. The AI-driven personalised advertising systems that match advertisers to individuals bear little resemblance to the simple banner ads with which online advertising started in the early 1990s. And the value chain behind a targeted online advertisement now includes data management companies that collect and manage customer data, ad networks connecting advertisers and publishers, automated content creation companies, and consent management tools, as well as of course online platforms such as Facebook.

The past years have seen legislators, in particular on the EU level, try to adapt legal frameworks to the increasing complexity and impact of online advertising. This IRIS Special provides an overview of the technological developments and key players in online advertising, and then maps the European regulatory framework that applies to online advertising. Subsequently, it explores recent developments in three areas of online advertising regulation.

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