Trends & Insights
Digital Markets Act(DMA): Shaping the future of digital competition and privacy
February 6, 2024
Sehee Cha

‘Privacy’ remains the biggest buzzword in the digital marketing industry this year. The European Union (EU) has stepped in to establish a fair and open digital marketplace while safeguarding users’ fundamental online rights. Even for services launched outside of the continental Europe, marketers with a global user base should pay attention to this change. Let's explore the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and its impact on our future marketing strategies.

What is the Digital Markets Act (DMA)? 

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a regulation proposed by the European Union to control the power of big tech companies and promote fair competition in the digital market. Aimed at dismantling the monopoly of large platforms acting as “Gatekeepers” between users and business owners, the legislation primarily focuses on regulating big tech companies, ensuring fair competition, and safeguarding user data. EU defined a gatekeeper as a company that provides a core platform service to more than 45 million monthly active users established or located in the EU and to more than 10,000 yearly active business users established in the EU during the last three years. The six companies designated as gatekeepers are Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Microsoft, and Meta and they are obligated to comply with all DMA regulations. 

Key provisions of the Digital Markets Act

Companies designated as gatekeepers are required to meet the following obligations. Below are some highlights of the legislation.

Gatekeepers must: 

  •  allow interoperability with third-party services.
  •  allow business users to access the data they generate when using the Gatekeeper platform.
  • notify the Commission of any future merger or acquisition plans.
  • Gatekeepers must not rank their services and products more favorably than competitors on the Gatekeeper platform.

Gatekeepers must not: 

  • reuse users’ personal information across services.
  • track users for targeted advertising purposes without valid consent.

This means that in the mobile ecosystem, European-based users will be able to easily remove pre-installed apps or services, and new app stores other than the Google Play Store or Apple App Store may emerge.

The significance and expected impact of the DMA

Once the law is in place, it will enable service providers to enter an industry currently dominated by major platform companies. Furthermore, it will enhance regulations concerning privacy and data usage, ensuring greater security for users’ personal information. 

Gatekeeper responses

Source: European Union Commission

Big tech companies designated as gatekeepers are making new changes and responses to comply with the bill. 

Apple has declared modifications to iOS, Safari, and the App Store. Developers releasing apps in the EU can now distribute iOS apps on alternative app marketplaces and utilize third-party Payment Service Providers (PSP) within iOS apps. Along with these new business conditions, a new billing system with distinct app store fees has also been introduced.

Alphabet intends to present banners in some Google products, seeking consent from users based in Europe regarding the sharing of user data across its products and services, particularly for personalized ad exposure purposes. In addition, they have announced plans to expand tests on Google search results, incorporating dedicated spaces for third-party providers such as comparison sites. Furthermore, Alphabet has implemented changes in various areas, such as simplifying the process of switching the default search engine and browser on Android phones.

Airbridge supports the latest Google EU user consent policy
Advertisers must collect consent from end users in the European Economic Area (EEA) by displaying a privacy prompt in their apps. Then, advertisers must share consent signals with Google. Airbridge will update its SDK and API in February 2024 to support Google’s latest EU user consent policy. Advertisers who do not run Google Ads campaigns in Europe or who do not have end users in the EEA do not have to take any action.
👉Learn more in the Airbridge user guide.

Coping with constant changes

The industry is waiting with bated breath to see if this is the beginning of the end for what has long been regarded as a ‘walled garden’. Numerous additional changes are on the horizon, including those covered above, and the European Commission’s response to these measures is yet to unfold. Make sure you stay attuned to developments and be prepared to welcome challenges with an open mindset.

As your partner in ad performance measurement, Airbridge is constantly updating and introducing features to support changes for app services and marketers. If you’re contemplating how to tailor your marketing strategy for the forthcoming transformations, consult with the marketing experts at Airbridge.

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Sehee Cha
Product Marketing Manager
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