Google Announced as DMA Gatekeeper - What Does this Mean?

28 November 2023

By: Kieran Read, Content SEO Consultant

Category: Blogs

Google was recently announced as an official gatekeeper of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) – but what does this mean, and how might this affect your digital advertising?

What is the Digital Markets Act (DMA)?

The implementation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) within the European Union (EU) heralds a pivotal moment in the regulation of the digital sector. 

The primary objective of the DMA is to instil fairness and transparency amongst the largest operating online platforms, commonly referred to as “gatekeepers.” Many consider this an act of ensuring power is fairly distributed, essentially meaning the key players don’t monopolise the digital space.

A stringent regulatory framework has been established for this, threatening substantial fines amounting to approximately 10% of the annual turnover for those found in violation.

Who are the DMA gatekeepers?

In a recent development, Google (parenting company Alphabet) has been designated as a gatekeeper, joining the ranks of five other major platforms: 

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • ByteDance
  • Meta
  • Microsoft

This recognition subjects these entities to the regulatory measures outlined in the DMA. All six designated gatekeepers, including Google, have until March 6th, 2024, to implement initiatives and solutions that align with the regulations stipulated in the DMA.

What has Google said about becoming a DMA gatekeeper?

Google’s Legal Director, Oliver Bethell, commented: “We have always believed in offering people and businesses choice and control, and competing on the merits of our services.”

He also said the change “will mean building on the work we have done to provide consumers with information and opportunities to switch platforms or manage their data (such as Google Takeout and our Google Transparency Reports) and remind people about their choices (such as the choice screens we now offer in Europe).”

What does this mean for those advertising on Google?

Key provisions with significant implications for advertisers within the European Economic Area (EEA) include the obligation for Google to obtain explicit consent from users before utilising their data for advertising purposes. 

Additionally, users must be granted greater control over their data, and Google is required to enhance the interoperability of its advertising platforms with other digital platforms.

Outside of advertising, Google will have to allow other app stores besides their own on Android devices; won’t be able to give preferential treatment to their own content on search engines; and will allow audiences to choose their own default apps and browsers.

How shall I adapt my advertising with Google following the announcement?

One of the key means of mitigating the potential impact of DMA on advertising within Google platforms include the adoption and configuration of Google Analytics 4 and Google Consent Mode. The latter specifically allows you to define different consent levels, such as consent for personalised ads or non-personalised ads, and adjust the behaviour of Google tags accordingly. This flexibility is valuable for accommodating various legal requirements and user preferences.

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Contact our team of strategy, content and SEO experts today.

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