Google Vows To Create More Equal Ad Tech As ACCC Probe Looms

Seattle, USA - Oct 15, 2019: The entrance sign to the new Google building in the south lake union area at sunset.
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Google has revealed it will be making changes to its entire advertising ecosystem after the French antitrust regulator slapped the tech giant with a 220 million euro ($345 million) fine.

France’s Autorité de la concurrence (Competition Authority) announced the fine overnight, after it found Google had favoured its own advertising services over competitors.

“These very serious practices have penalized competition in the emerging online advertising market, and have enabled Google not only to preserve but also to increase its dominant position,” said the French Competition Authority president Isabelle de Silva.

As well as paying the fine to the French authorities, Google has also committed to change how it operates ad tech.

In an announcement, Google France’s legal director Maria Gomri revealed Google will now be making it easier for publishers and advertisers to use a combination of Google and third-party products.

“We will further increase the flexibility of Google Ad Manager to meet the evolving needs of our partners, including allowing them to set custom pricing rules for ads that are in sensitive categories and implementing product changes that improve interoperability between Ad Manager and third-party ad servers,” Gomri said.

Gomri also confirmed Google would not be limiting Ad Manager publishers from negotiating directly with other SSPs.

The changes will also allow buyers using a non-Google DSP – or those using Header biding to run auctions across multiple exchanges – to access more data.

“Today, when buyers use Google Ad Manager to participate in Google’s ad exchange, they receive equal access to data from our auctions to help them efficiently buy ad space from publishers,” said Gomri.

“As there are a lot of ad exchanges to choose from, publishers sometimes also use a technology called Header Bidding to run an auction among multiple ad exchanges. Because these Header Bidding auctions take place outside of our platform, it is usually not technically possible for Google to identify the participants, and therefore we cannot share data with those buyers.

“With these commitments, we will work to create a solution that ensures that all buyers that a publisher works with, including those who participate in Header Bidding, can receive equal access to data related to outcomes from the Ad Manager auction. In particular, we will be providing information around the “minimum bid to win” from previous auctions.”

The changes to Google’s ad tech comes as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) continues its local investigation into ad tech services.

An interim report published earlier this year suggested that Google had been able to conduct self preferencing in ad tech due to its presence across the supply chain.

The final report is set to be handed down in August.

Image: iStock/:400tmax

 

 

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