Partners, Competitors, Frenemies: How Australian Advertising Professionals Understand the Market Power of Facebook and Google
In 2019, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission published the final report from its two-year Digital Platforms Inquiry (DPI), a landmark investigation into the impact of Google and Facebook in Australian advertising. The DPI final report presented extensive evidence of market dominance, triggered an ongoing policy conversation about the market power of U.S. platforms in Australia, and led to far-reaching reforms aimed at redressing the power of “big tech” in Australian media and advertising. This article draws on expert interviews with 24 senior advertising professionals—conducted during and immediately after the ACCC investigation—to explore their personal and professional views on Facebook, Google, and the power of U.S. platforms in ad-tech markets. We find these professionals have nuanced understandings of the Google-Facebook “duopoly.” Recurring themes included concern about platforms’ market power, anger at their commercial practices, confidence that these platforms are growing the digital advertising market, and begrudging respect for their superior ad-tech products. These diverging views paint a conflicted picture of digital advertising in a time of transformation.