Google describes changes to its ad technology practices in antitrust regulation

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Google is promising big changes to how its advertising technology works as part of an antitrust settlement over its advertising practices.

On Monday, Google said it would be implementing new rules around internet ad auctions, changes that publishers and ad technology partners have wanted for years. In particular, publishers and ad technology companies have called for more transparency about what is going on behind the scenes of Google’s advertising platform, such as more price visibility and more flexibility to work with outside partners. to Google.

French regulators settled an antitrust case with Google after accusing it of monopoly practices and fining it $ 268 million. Google accepted the penalty and agreed to make changes that would resolve long-standing issues in the way it handles digital ad auctions. In the last quarter published by Google, ending in March, it generated $ 44.7 billion in digital ad revenue. Google’s ad technology tools dominate the digital advertising industry, and on Monday Google said in its announcement that 700 ad platform competitors and 80 publishing platforms rely on its ad auction infrastructure.

Google is also facing antitrust investigations in the United States. The US Department of Justice and dozens of state attorneys general have opened cases against Google, exploring how it exercises its position at the top of the digital advertising world to potentially promote its own services and products.

The changes Google pledged on Monday are likely the first step the search giant will need to take to improve publishers and advertisers who were wary of its power.

The upcoming changes in Google advertising will have wider implications, outside of the European and French markets. A Google representative said some of the changes to header bidding, price transparency and sensitive ad categories will also be open to US ad technology partners.

Publishers and advertisers are concerned that Google is acting on behalf of both the buyer and seller of online advertising inventory, creating distorted incentives for the company. Now, according to Google, there will be more transparency around its advertising auctions, such as revealing the dynamics of auction prices. In an update, Google will release “minimum bid to win” data, which provides advertisers with information about the price of individual auctions to help them refine their bidding strategies.

For publishers, Google promises more flexibility, offering more tools so publishers can choose which ad technology partners they want to use, without feeling pressured to use Google for each service. “We will not prevent Ad Manager publishers from negotiating specific terms or prices directly with other sell-side platforms (SSPs),” Google said in its announcement. “And we will continue to provide Ad Manager publishers with controls to include or exclude certain buyers at their discretion.”

Google said the changes will be tested and developed over the next few months before being rolled out more widely.



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