The ACCC Reviews the Digital Landscape

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been given five years to complete a report on competition in the digital platform. 

Australia’s federal government required the ACCC to do an 18-month inquiry to the advertising technology. The inquiries will be focused on the technologies that manage the supply of online advertising to consumers. The ACCC will also research what data is being used to create personalized advertising campaigns.

The Australian writes, “These inquiries are in response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s final report into digital platforms handed down in December 2019, which found their market power had grown substantially.”

The inquiry will include the availability and transparency of information about digital and advertising markets. The research will include internet search engines, social media, online private messaging, electronic marketplaces, ad tech services, digital content aggregation, and other related entities. The concentrations of power and the effects of mergers and acquisitions will also be explored. 

Inquiries on large tech companies 

Companies like Facebook, Apple, Google will be required to explain how they use user data when personalizing marketing campaigns. These companies will be forced to hand in their ad revenue data. Additionally, information regarding pricing for promotion and services in the platforms will be required. Using this government-issued inquiry, the ACCC now has the authority to examine how tech companies give ad opportunities to specific businesses. 

Other scopes include: 

  • Distribution of digital display advertising expenditure between publishers
  • The competition in the market for the supply of digital advertising services 
  • Auction and the bidding process
  • Behaviors of the suppliers in the digital marketing space
  • Competitiveness and efficiency of digital marketing pertaining to the supply of digital advertising technology

The federal government of Australia gave the ACCC approval to conduct the inquiry on digital platforms starting this year. The first report is due on September 30th and will carry on every six months into 2025. 

What can an Inquiry do?

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that with the huge role that digital technologies play, it is important to ensure that there is balance in the digital economy. The regulatory inquiry will help digital platforms, consumers, and small businesses as it ensures grave issues are always in check. 

For social media giants, this inquiry will aid them and free them from the burden of public concerns. This will keep them in check and help them avoid getting fined billions of dollars from antitrust issues, breaches of privacy, competition laws, and so on.

Acquisitions, cost of advertising, advertising opportunities, are among other things that will be explored. These things are big issues for smaller businesses. 

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