Australian Regulator Seeks More Powers to Curb Google’s Dominance in Ad Tech Sector

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Tuesday that it needs more powers to rein in Google’s dominance of the country’s online advertising industry as existing competition laws are inadequate to tightly regulate the tech giant.

Earlier in the day, the national regulator released a final report on its investigation into the advertising technology sector launched back in March. The probe established that Google had a dominant position in key parts of the ad tech supply chain, with over 90% of ad impressions traded via the ad tech supply chain passed through at least one Google service in 2020.

“An ACCC inquiry into the advertising technology (or ‘ad tech’) sector has identified significant competition concerns and likely harms to publishers, advertisers and, ultimately, consumers. The report … concludes that enforcement action under Australia’s existing competition laws alone is not sufficient to address the competition issues in the sector, and that the ACCC should be given powers to develop specific rules in response,” the regulator said in a statement.

The regulator believes that Google’s dominance in the sector is supported by multiple factors, including its access to consumer and other data, exclusive inventory and integration across its ad tech services, noting that the purchase of DoubleClick, AdMob, as well as YouTube have helped Google cement its leading position in the sector.

The ACCC concluded that weak competition in the supply of ad tech services could be detrimental to Australian advertisers, publishers and consumers, as it would put a risk on the ability of Australian websites and app owners to make important and valuable content available to many Australians.

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