Europe tailored by startups

European startups need targeted advertising
We got Six Nordic startups to prototype the potential repercussions of an outright ban on targeted advertising discussed as part of the DSA. The six startups tested and evaluated the potential effects with launching advertising campaigns and evaluated what a ban on targeted advertising would mean if implemented. The results are clear: Startups are highly dependent on targeted advertising to grow their businesses and the restrictions aimed at Big Tech will end up taking the greatest toll on European entrepreneurs.

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Virtual Debate: 

The rise on the ban on target advertising

On January 13th the newly formed coalition of startups, entrepreneurs and NGOs will host an online event with focus on the current policy proposals and amendments aimed at limiting targeted advertising in the EU.

This virtual event will give the word to the European entrepreneurs and fundraising organizations in search for a mutual understanding with policy makers on limiting personalized ads.

The event will be showcasing real life stories of entrepreneurs leading to a panel debate for relevant EU policy makers, startups and NGOs to share their perspectives.

Ultimately the aim is to bridge the two and find a common path that encourages innovation while addressing societal concerns before the ban enters the last stretch of negotiations ahead of becoming pan-EU law. The event will be held as a prelude to the vote in the European Parliament.
Watch the event
If you missed our event, you can now rewatch it here.

Moving forward for Europe

Entrepreneurs’ & Startups’ view on the digital single market

In general startups & entrepreneurs welcome EU legislation in the digital internal market. Creating a level playing field and increasing transparency are important goals that can assist entrepreneurs in entering the market and giving them the ability to compete against incumbents and tackle the existing opacity of gatekeepers’ business models.

Targeted Ads give entrepreneurs & startups the ability to compete

Personalised advertising is the most efficient way for businesses to find new customers and grow their business — which is particularly important for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs and startups cannot afford large marketing budgets.

Targeted Ads create relevant and more transparent choices for consumers

Targeted advertising is more worthwhile and less interruptive for the consumer, and more effective for the advertiser and a ban or restrictions on targeted ads will create less relevant advertising to the detriment of both the customer, the advertiser and the economy on a whole. Consumers in particular would therefore become less informed and/or face increased search costs.

Read letter for European Parliament

Our concerns

The EU’s economy needs small, agile startups with access to a range of innovative tools, such as targeted advertising, to allow them to compete and help secure a prosperous digital economy. 

The internet has made it easier than ever to start and run a business. Unfortunately, there are considerations in the European Parliament to the Digital Markets & Digital Service Acts to propose restrictions on advertising, either in the form of bans or opt-ins that risk severely harming SMEs, startups & entrepreneurs by reducing the effectiveness and raising the costs of reaching customers. 

Targeted Ads are a fundamental part of SMEs, startups and entrepreneurs’ business models and vastly reduce marketing costs and level the playing field against large corporations.


At Dansk Rejsehjælp we use target ads to target the audience most likely to be in need of our help. Therefore, removing this possibility will make our advertisement less efficient, which consequently means that we will be able to help less people. The knowledge about passenger rights is not communicated properly by the airlines, which is why limiting our ability to reach the right people will come at the cost of the passengers.
Our mission is to eliminate the need for bottled water. Targeting eco-conscious consumers that are open to change is absolutely key for us as it's extremely expensive to educate consumers to change. We completely rely on targeted advertising for our business and mission.
It's a growth and export story, a rural venture and a sustainability entrepreneur. All the tick-marks: 

"For a startup with ambitions to combat climate change, targeted ads are key to validate a business idea, reach critical mass and scale. Without being able to precisely address our customers in our markets, Fra Fejø would never be able to to change the customer behavior in a more sustainable direction" - Thomas Hermansen, CEO & Co-founder,
We use targeted marketing to ensure that our marketing is relevant to the recipient. This can be, for example, information we only want to send to women. For us as SMEs, targeted marketing is an important tool that can ensure that more people become aware of our products and perhaps start subscribing to our newsletter. Of course, there must be limits to the data that one may use for marketing purposes, but it is too drastic to completely ban targeted marketing. I also believe that targeted advertising helps to give consumers a better experience with more relevant information. A ban on targeted advertising does not mean that ads disappear - only that they become more general and unqualified
Photo credit: Malene Nelting
Targeted advertising gives us the possibility to reach relevant potential customers both easier and faster. With targeted ads, we focus on giving our customers an informed choice and last but not least it enables us to stay relevant in a competitive market, so that we can serve our customers in the best possible way, by always knowing their needs. Therefore targeting advertising is a crucial necessity for both our current and future way to reach our customers.

About us

We are a voluntary coalition of startups, entrepreneurs, SMEs, organizations, politicians and individuals who are concerned that current policy proposals aimed at banning or restricting targeted ads will unfairly impact businesses in reaching their customers. 

This coalition believes that the EUs current proposals on targeted ads will disproportionately affect small businesses and startups and create additional costs and make it harder for new ideas and innovation to reach intended target customers to the detriment for SMEs and Startups, to consumers and to the EU economy as a whole. 

We strongly believe in the aims of the EU Commission in regulating the digital economy but urge policy makers to consider the impact of proposals on SMEs and Startups. 


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Targeting Startups

Johann Svane Jensen, Coordinator

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