A bipartisan bill wants to chop up Google’s and Meta’s ad business
Future. A group of Senators are taking on Google and Meta with a bill that would break up their advertising businesses for being too big and covering too many functions of the ad market. While it feels like the endless parade of tech-regulation bills are making little headway to law, its passage could be key in breaking Big Tech’s stranglehold over the vast majority of advertising dollars.
Search and destroy
The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act recently introduced in the Senate could shake up control of the ad market.
- The bill (which has bipartisan support) stipulates that processes at least $20 billion in digital ad sales annually will no longer be able to participate in “more than one part of the digital advertising ecosystem.”
- That rule would affect both Google and Meta, who reportedly made $54.7 billion and $27 billion in ad revenue, respectively, just last quarter.
- For example, Google, which (among many other things) runs an ad-auction exchange and provides tools for customers to both buy and sell ads, would have to sell off some of those businesses within a year if the law passes.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, said that when Google is “serving as a seller and a buyer and running an exchange, that gives them an unfair, undue advantage in the marketplace.”
Of course, Google doesn’t agree, claiming that breaking apart its ad business would “hurt publishers and advertisers, lower ad quality and create new privacy risks.” Instead, Google deflects criticism and blames “low-quality data brokers who threaten Americans’ privacy and flood them with spammy ads.”
But that doesn’t mean that Google isn’t doing what it can to clean up its ad business. After announcing that it would ban the usage of third-party cookies — the code that tells advertisers what someone does after seeing an ad — Google is introducing a slate of new measurement tools, including a metric called “on-device conversion measurement.” The data tool does the same thing as a cookie, just without sharing the user’s ID.