Australians are spending more time than ever viewing content on internet-connected devices. Advertising frequently accompanies and helps fund that content.

Ad tech services are critical to the digital economy. Effective competition in the ad tech industry is important for Australian consumers. If advertisers pay too much for digital advertising, the costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services. If publishers receive too little revenue for their advertising inventory, consumers will face a reduction in the quality and variety of online content.

This report focuses on concerns identified by online publishers, advertisers, industry groups, academics and ad tech providers with the supply of ad tech services in Australia. The main themes explored in the report are:

  • Google’s industry-leading position. While there are a large number of ad tech providers across the supply chain as a whole, Google is by far the largest provider of each of the four key ad tech services considered. The report considers the reasons for, and implications of, Google’s position.
  • concerns about opacity in the operation and pricing of ad tech and ad agency services. This has been a key issue for both online publishers and advertisers, and raises multiple questions. First, with so many different ad tech services used to deliver an ad to a consumer, how much advertising spend on digital display is being retained by ad tech providers, and how much is flowing through to publishers? Secondly, are advertisers and publishers getting enough information about how the whole supply chain operates to make informed choices about which suppliers to use? Thirdly, how should transparency and competition in the supply of ad tech services be promoted while ensuring consumer privacy is protected?
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