In a landmark settlement with French authorities, the US tech giant Google has said it would bring changes to its global advertising business to ensure it did not abuse its dominance. The deal with the French competition watchdog could help re-equalizing the power over advertising in favour of publishers, which held sway over the business in the pre-internet era but lost dominance with the rapid growth of Google and Facebook.
The settlement was announced on Monday and included a fine of 220 million euros ($268 million). This was the first time Google had agreed to make changes to its ads business, which brings in the bulk of its revenue.
The watchdog found that Google’s ad management platform for large publishers Google Ad Manager favoured the company’s own online ad marketplace -Google AdX, where publishers sell space to advertisers in real-time.
Medianews4U spoke to a few Digital Marketing Specialists on the impact of this ruling and how it will affect India, Gautam Mehra, Chief Data & Product Officer- dentsu Asia Pacific (APAC) & CEO – dentsu Programmatic – South Asia, Ambika Sharma, Founder & MD, Pulp Strategy & Preetam Thingalaya, Director of Mirum India.
Gautam Mehra, Chief Data & Product Officer- dentsu Asia Pacific (APAC) & CEO – dentsu Programmatic – South Asia
What the French authorities found is that Google favoured some of its own SSP and technology in the programmatic auction system. Google has agreed to look into this and will amend the way their tech works. Since this programmatic tech is global, the changes too will affect all countries (including India) and not just in France.
Ambika Sharma, Founder & MD, Pulp Strategy
Google has agreed to make changes in its platform and improve the way Ad Manager Services worked with rival ad servers and ad space sales platforms, but Google at the time did not share data as robustly with other platforms as it did with ad manager. While Google has agreed to the change and shared a time map, it has at this time shown the intention to roll out only select changes globally in other markets. India’s digital landscape is changing rapidly, in the 2 years that Google estimates it will take to implement and test the changes, our digital environment will be different from what it is today. When the time comes Indian policymakers will possibly need to get into a dialogue with the tech giant to ensure that the changes relevant to our business and competitive environment are rolled out in India.
Preetam Thingalaya, Director of Mirum India
Frankly, it’s a bit too early to comment on how Google plans to structure this and how it will impact the publisher’s pay-outs. The attribution model or understanding between the Publisher and Google might further see an increase in pricing – but it’s not yet clear who will bear the cost for this. Will, there be a cut in publisher pay-out or Google might increase the cost to advertisers, no one knows yet. But once this here is clear that we will see a surge in pricing for advertisers.
In a nutshell, I see Google technically might not be affected by this, but we have to wait and watch how this is affecting the publishers’ partners.