Google tells ACCC it just makes advertising easy

In its latest ACCC battle, the search giant says ad tech is a competitive market with low barriers to entry and promotes a healthy ecosystem.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Thursday released an interim report on how it intends to regulate the advertising technology (ad tech) sector, focusing its efforts, again, on search giant Google.

In scope for its inquiry is ad tech services that deliver personalised digital display advertising on websites and apps, and associated advertising agency services.

The ad tech inquiry will focus on what the ACCC has labelled as "Google's industry-leading position".

"While there are a large number of ad tech providers across the supply chain as a whole, Google is by far the largest provider of each of the four key ad tech services considered. The report considers the reasons for, and implications of, Google's position," the report said.

But Google would argue ad tech is a competitive market with low barriers to entry, and that it's merely one of the many companies offering such a service.

With a stoush continuing between the ACCC and Google here, there, and everywhere, the search giant has said it has engaged constructively with the ACCC as part of this process and will "continue to participate constructively".

"Every day, Google's ad technology helps businesses connect with customers and publishers reach new audiences, creating new growth and revenue opportunities for them," a Google spokesperson said.

"Ad tech is a competitive market with low barriers to entry. There are many companies, large and small, working together and in competition with each other to power digital advertising across the web, each with different specialties and technologies.

"Google is just one of these many players, and we've made it easier for others to choose who they want to work with."  

The spokesperson told ZDNet that Google has made significant efforts and investments in innovation and the promotion of a healthy ad tech ecosystem.

"This includes creating privacy-enhanced measurement solutions, developing major innovations in auction technology, and participating in industry initiatives designed to foster the long-term viability of an ad-supported digital advertising ecosystem," they added.

Google paid out more than $14 billion in 2018 to the publishing partners in its ad network. It says publishers keep 69% of the total amount advertisers paid when using Google Ads to buy their display inventory. 

In a recent report commissioned by Google, the search giant said it helps Australian businesses increase revenues.

"Applications such as Google Search, Google Ads, and AdSense help Australian businesses access new customers and create new revenue streams through online advertising," the report states. "These business benefits are estimated at AU$31.7 billion per year for Google Search and Ads, and AU$63.9 million per year for AdSense."

Meanwhile, it said web publishers in Australia earn more than AU$196 million annually through AdSense and Google Ads is estimated to generate AU$31.7 billion annually in the form of net returns to Australian businesses from investing in placing advertisements on Google Search results of relevant keywords

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