At this point I’m sure you’ve seen the headlines, the memes, the hashtags and more about ‘Net Neutrality’. What is it? Does it affect me? How do we stop it? All questions that we ask ourselves upon hearing about this term for the first time. So let’s break it down. “Net Neutrality is the idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination”. Last week, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted against the concept of Net Neutrality which can open the floodgates to a whole new Internet experience for Americans.
Now that we know the issues at hand, what’s next? This decision can ultimately affect brands and people in different ways, all dependent on which side you’re on. For example, content providers like Netflix could lose big if ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast and AT&T decide to limit bandwidth and slow down their platform in favour of streaming services in which they’re stakeholders. Your options would be to watch your Netflix shows at half the speed or pay for a specific data Internet package on top of your existing subscription. A move like this could also ultimately cause Netflix to raise their subscription amount out of necessity. The top companies can essentially create whichever data package that they choose, and it would be something that the market would simply have to deal with. Kind of scary isn’t it?
Managing a platform like The MAD Mix has caused me to always ask “What does this mean for advertisers/marketers? Well here’s the breakdown:
Viewability of digital ads, Pricing, User Experience.
If there’s a change in the loading speed for digital ads it will affect viewability standards as we know them. Want your ad to load quick on a web page? Time to pay more. Let’s not pretend that digital ads are all insanely effective as is, so could you imagine the drop in reach and engagement if they take more than a couple of seconds to load? The pressure for marketers to use media companies owned by ISP’s in order to run their ads on faster platforms would increase. With the same sort of idea in mind it can take a toll on the user experience for websites and platforms. Brands shell out a large amount of money to provide consumers with a smooth user experience from beginning to end, whether the goal is to entice a purchase online or build awareness. It’s relied on a mapped out consumer journey. A consumer journey that is at stake if speed and quality decreases.
In a digitally focused world, everything mentioned above is pretty much the worst case scenario for Americans. As a Canadian we’ll mainly be monitoring how this pans out for our neighbours, but at the same time not being naive enough to think it could never happen to us.
What are your thoughts on net neutrality? Let us know in the comments!
Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed in account services for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.