Digital Services Act (“DSA”) 



In 2022, the European Union implemented a new set of rules referred to as the Digital Services Act (DSA). 

  1. What is the purpose of the DSA?

The DSA primarily focuses on issues such as illegal content, user rights, and the responsibilities of digital service providers, but it also has implications for the advertising technology (ad-tech) industry.

  1. Who does the DSA apply to?

This Regulation shall apply to different providers offering their online services to users that have their place of establishment or are located in the EU.

  1. Providers affected by the DSA?

(1) Intermediary services offering network infrastructure: Including “mere conduit services”, “caching services”, and “hosting services” (e.g. cloud and web-hosting services); (2) Online platform services: Providers bringing together sellers and consumers, such as online marketplaces, app stores, collaborative economy platforms, social media platforms, and providers that disseminate information to the public; and (3) Very large online platforms and very large online search engines: Those online plaforms reaching at least 45 million active recipients in the EU on a monthly basis (10% of the EU population).

  1. Do these rules apply to providers outside of the EU?

They apply in the EU single market, without discrimination, including to those online intermediaries established outside of the European Union that offer their services in the single market. 

  1. How does the DSA impact the ad-tech industry?

The DSA emphasizes transparency in the digital ecosystem, and this can affect the ad-tech industry. Ad-tech companies may be required to provide clear information about their operations, online advertising, data practices, and how they handle advertising content. Also, beyond Article 46 of the DSA, the IAB Europe states that ad-tech players, e.g SSPs, DSPs, DMPs, etc. are intermediaries. 

  1. What does ad transparency mean?

Ad transparency involves the disclosure of relevant information by online platforms (Publishers), with the exception of small and micro enterprises employing fewer than 50 persons and with an annual turnover below €10 million. These players shall ensure that for each specific ad, the EU end users can identify: (a) that the information is an ad through prominent markings; (b) the natural or legal person on whose behalf the ad is presented; (c) the natural or legal person who paid for the ad; and (d) the main parameters used to determine the recipient to whom the ad is presented.

  1. How does EXADS help ad-tech players to comply with the DSA?

Although the obligation to provide these disclosures (ad transparency) rests primarily with the online platforms (Publishers), the information needed is, in many cases, distributed across the ads supply chain which includes EXADS clients (ad networks). Therefore, we have developed the performance of certain features to help our clients display ad transparency to end users, and thus adhere to the specific requirements outlined in the DSA.

  1. How does the DSA affect RTB?

RTB involves multiple parties, including advertisers, publishers, and ad exchanges. The DSA may require platforms to have mechanisms in place to ensure that all parties involved adhere to the regulatory framework, promoting accountability across the advertising ecosystem and the development of the codes of conduct.

  1. What type of sanctioning powers does the EU Commission have?

The EU Commission can apply fines up to 6% of the worldwide annual turnover in case of breach of the DSA following a non-compliance decision, or failure to comply with interim measures, or breach of commitments. 

  1. Deadline for complying with the DSA?

Deadline is 17 February 2024 for all intermediary service providers, online platforms, hosting services, very large online platforms and very large online search engines.