CMA to investigate Meta and Google over ad tech concerns

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating both Meta and Google over concerns on whether the companies restricted or prevented the uptake of header bidding services and whether Google also affected the ability of other firms to compete with its products in the area.

Header bidding referes to the service which sellers use to offer online advertising space to multiple buyers at the same time, instead of receiving offers one by one.

This results in advertisers competing against each other for ad space, which leads to publishers comparing bids from multiple buyers at the same time.

This can make auctions more competitive.

The CMA is looking into an agreement between both of the Big Tech companies to see whether it violated regulations.

“We’re concerned that Google may have teamed up with Meta to put obstacles in the way of competitors who provide important online display advertising services to publishers,” CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said.

“We’re concerned that Google may have teamed up with Meta to put obstacles in the way of competitors who provide important online display advertising services to publishers.

“If one company has a stranglehold over a certain area, it can make it hard for start-ups and smaller businesses to break into the market – and may ultimately reduce customer choice.

“We will not shy away from scrutinising the behaviour of big tech firms while we await powers for the Digital Markets Unit, working closely with global regulators to get the best outcomes possible.

“As this is only the start of the CMA’s investigation, no decision has been made on whether Google or Meta have broken the law.”

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