The advertising industry is gripped with fear over new moves from Google that could minimise or even cut out other ad tech players from the market. Earlier this week, the search giant announced a new policy position to restrict personalised advertising online, which could cement Google’s ad tracking system as the industry standard, forcing other players to compete for table scraps in the ad market.
Google drew a line in the sand this week, explicitly saying it would steer away from personalised advertising technology that has been the backbone of the internet ad industry for decades. While some see this as a win for consumers and privacy, for others it’s just another way for Google to gain even more power.
“People are a little shocked at how definitive [Google has] become for their vision of the future,” says Andrew Frank, research VP at Gartner, a research firm. He says Google’s outsize influence (and revenue) in the advertising industry could squeeze ad tech players building their own solution. “Google’s scale is so gigantically enormous that barring some major [government] intervention, whatever Google does it’s not going to be engineered to diminish its revenue from advertising,” says Frank.
Google is of course the largest internet ad company in the world, reporting fourth-quarter ad revenue of $46.20 billion. It has an extensive empire that ranges from Android phones to YouTube, the Chrome web browser and more. Its dominant market position means its policies can affect the whole industry.