Three Ways the Digital Services Act Helps Marketers
While it may not sound particularly exciting, the implementation of the Digital Services Act (DSA) is a huge move in the online world, and it offers brands access to previously unavailable insights.
The act focuses on the European Commission’s ambition to “create a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of users are protected and to establish a level playing field for businesses.”
In essence, it enforces regulations on the digital giants it considers to be very large online platforms/search engines – think Meta, Google, Amazon and Wikipedia – to encourage transparency, protect privacy and combat illegal content.
And with sanctions including fines of up to 6% of a company’s global revenue and a complete ban in Europe, it’s not something big business will be taking lightly.
The DSA came into force in August and with it a useful tool for marketers. Meta, TikTok, LinkedIn and X were among the apps obliged to provide transparency around brand partnerships, meaning the platforms’ ad libraries now include such details.
Ads libraries – a searchable database of all promoted content – were introduced to enhance transparency even before the introduction of the DSA. They offer a handy way to see the ads of anyone using the channels, and while each platform has its own library, they all operate in similar ways.
This latest update means that marketers can now identify who brands are choosing to work with via the keyword search in these databases, be that influencers, celebrities, media outlets or other businesses. So, how can you make use of this tool?
1. KEEP ON TOP OF COMPETITOR ACTIVITY
Accessing the ads of competitors is a great way to understand their strategy, but seeing who they’re working with amplifies the insight.
If you spot them advertising with a parenting influencer, you can safely assume they’re targeting the family market.
If you see they’re working with a famous face, you can pinpoint the products they’re putting big money behind.
If you identify they’re partnering with another brand, you can better understand how they align themselves, and how they wish to position their brand. And, of course, tracking the partnerships across the different channels gives you a clue as to where they’re prioritising campaign budgets.
All this information can help to inform your next steps, either by identifying a gap in the market, or pivoting tactics to avoid overlap and a consequentially diluted campaign.
2. REVIEW INFLUENCERS IN YOUR FIELD
Simply by typing the names of other brands in your industry into the ad library, you can get a feel for the influencers who are most active among your peers.
You might learn about a new person making strides, an old favourite whose influence hasn’t waned, or simply collate a list of people willing to work with brands.
This can also be useful when looking at media partnerships – if you see one large outlet has recently worked with one competitor or peer, you know they’re open to this kind of activity in the future.
However you look at it, the tool offers a way of enhancing your influencer strategy by providing you with added intel about who is prominent within your niche.
3. DEEP DIVE INTO INDUSTRY DISCUSSION POINTS AND TRENDS
Collaborative content typically revolves around areas that form important talking points within a certain industry.
By exploring the content being prioritised with influencer/brand partnership activity, you can start to identify what the businesses operating in your sphere consider important, observing hot topics and trends that you either need to be aware of, join in with, or avoid, depending on your own strategy.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the DSA develops, and whether there are further steps social platforms need to take to ensure compliance. Every development won’t necessarily support marketer interests – but we’ll be sure to let you know if they do.
If you’d like to learn more about social media strategy, feel free to reach out to Alex Dixon.
The author: Alex Dixon is a senior social media strategy director at WPR who specialises in using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X to keep clients ahead of the curve when it comes to social media marketing.