Impact of TRACED ACT

President Trump has signed the TRACED ACT into law to try to help reduce the number of robocalls to American consumers. This bill was overwhelming passed by Congress in December, so it’s not a surprise.

While there are certainly high hopes that it will make a difference, it’s worth thinking about how to measure the impact of the TRACED ACT. At YouMail, our Robocall Index has been estimating the number of robocalls in the US each month for a little over four years.

Monthly Robocall Volume

This chart shows that the number of robocalls are increasing dramatically during the last four years. But more importantly, it shows that while robocall volumes bounce around quite a bit month to month, the overall trend keeps rising.

That means you can’t really look at month to month or even 2-3 month periods, since historically, every time they’ve dropped in the short-term, they keep going up in the long term.

What does this have to do with the TRACED ACT?
As exciting as the first significant anti-robocall law that we’ve seen in decades is, it’s important to remember that we won’t know if the TRACED ACT is working by simply looking at data for a few months. We’re going to need a better way to tell.

A much more interesting measure of robocall volume is the 12-month trailing average – how many robocalls have US consumers suffered through in the past year?

Trailing 12-month Robocall Volume

The longer period average tends to smooth our the month-to-month deviations, and we can see that what’s really happened is that robocall volume has actually has had 6-9 months of being fairly flat at a 58 billion robocalls/year pace, after a big spike the previous 18 months or so.

Said another way, since Spring 2019, things haven’t gotten worse, but they haven’t gotten better. Everyone’s efforts – carriers, government, third-party apps like YouMail – are simply keeping call volumes from exploding upwards.

What does all of this mean?
The right way to measure the impact of the TRACED ACT will not be month-to-month. Instead, it will seeing if the trailing 12 month curve of robocall volumes can start to bend down meaningfully, something it’s basically never done.

We’ll be watching closely. Stay tuned.

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