Repercussions of End of Net Neutrality on Digital Marketing

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Nixing the net neutrality regulations that were enacted in 2015 will definitely affect the way digital marketing works. It will also have an effect on brands, consumers and digital marketing agencies. Even though the repeal will take weeks to come into effect there will be potential changes in the way the internet works. Ending net neutrality may stifle innovation and lead to search engine bans. It will for sure have a change in the web traffic that comes through organic searches.

Changes in the Digital Market

There will be a considerable change in the way digital marketing works when the freedom to access content, run applications, attach devices or obtain service plan information is revoked. Smaller brands that have a smaller budget may find it difficult to put their foot down in the digital market. The internet began with the concept of decentralization, making way for the free flow of information. Start-ups will now have to spend a considerable amount to reach their consumers. Basically, it treats one piece of web traffic differently than another piece of traffic. Let us look through the changes net neutrality might bring about on digital marketing.

How it might affect Digital Marketing

Since 1950s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were prohibited from engaging in prioritization or blocking of websites and slowing broadcasting speeds while browsing a particular site under the law. The recent repeal of net neutrality in the US will no longer require ISPs to provide unrestricted access to the internet. It means that large players who can afford to hit the competition can partnership with ISPs to eliminate competition from smaller, less funded competitors.

Net neutrality evoked competition between all sizes and forms of businesses. This created a demand for digital marketing services such as content marketing, SEO, pay-per-click (PPC), and social media marketing which inspire organic web traffic. Inherently the new law might increase advertising costs.

However, the end of net neutrality may open up a plethora of opportunities for advertisers, agencies, and digital marketers. This might go to an extent where brands may have to start paying up for better bandwidth and one ISP versus another. The new change might take the digital marketing platform from a consumer-centric marketing to a business-centric marketing.

Throttling is favouring one piece of web traffic more than another. It is assumed that throttling and paid prioritization will deliver unpaid websites more slowly than other paid traffic to the user. This opens up opportunities to create unlimited bandwidth or free bandwidth offers where there might be different rate plans to avail different websites.

There prevails a fear in internet discussions that non-neutrality might give service providers unfettered control over the information that can be accessed, and might threaten the freedom and future of the internet. ISPs can choose what users can browse based on what they pay in the absence of net neutrality.

What it means for Digital Marketing Agencies

Agencies used to score with creative content and innovation to help small businesses stand up to their larger counterparts. With non-net neutrality, the same marketing industry is supposed to go frenzied as small brands will have to pay up more from their marketing budget so that they can be visible in the bustling web traffic.

In the absence of an equal playing field, ISPs might be deciding what content gets delivered to users at what speed. It is also assumed that content marketing might be affected because if users can’t access a particular content why would they promote it. Creating and promoting content is likely to be more expensive. On the other hand pay per click will not be affected (of course it is paid for).

The fact is that giant websites can pay ISPs to include them in a higher tier, while your personal blog or your small venture’s business website will always be in the lower tier as you can’t afford to spend huge sums towards keeping up in the higher tier. This means that fewer businesses will be competing in the real scenario, fewer businesses means less competition and thus less demand for digital marketing services.

Anyhow, the outcomes of net neutrality will take some time to come into effect and we can only assume the consequences. Let us hope for a fair, free-flowing battle of wits in the digital marketing scenario.

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