What advertisers must know before their first-party data strategies are made redundant in less than 120 days

Brett Cella

VP Analytics

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) seeks to regulate the gatekeepers of the digital world (companies like Google, Meta, Amazon, TikTok, and LinkedIn) to ensure fair competition and protect consumers; this will affect how marketers activate first-party data in 2024. 

The Core Platform Services (CPS) regulated by Google’s parent company Alphabet are Ads, Android, Chrome, Maps, Play Store, Search, Shopping and YouTube.

In this post we'll reveal the efforts and product changes made by Google to comply with the DMA enforcement date on March 6 2024. We’ve created a dedicated website containing the immediate actions you must take before that date if you are using Google products that utilise first-party data.

But first, what is the Digital Markets Act (DMA)?

In an age where the digital landscape is continuously evolving and expanding, the European Union (EU) has taken significant steps to ensure fair competition and protect the rights of consumers and businesses. One of the most notable developments in this regard is the Digital Markets Act (DMA) (more detail on this Google blog post), a comprehensive regulatory framework aimed at addressing competition issues in digital markets. We'll explore the key aspects of the DMA, its implications, and how it's poised to reshape the EU’s digital landscape.

The DMA–a part of the broader Digital Services Act (DSA) Package–is a regulatory initiative proposed by the European Commission in December 2020. It aims to create a level playing field for businesses in the digital realm and strengthen competition in the Single Market. The DMA focuses on regulating large online platforms that act as ‘gatekeepers’, ensuring that they adhere to fair and transparent practices. These gatekeepers are digital platforms that have a significant impact on the European market.

In case you don't want to read the entire DMA, we’ve summarised the key points below

  • Designation of Gatekeepers: The DMA provides a framework for identifying and designating digital gatekeepers based on certain criteria. These criteria include metrics like market capitalization, user base, and annual turnover. Once designated, gatekeepers must comply with specific obligations to ensure fair competition and transparency.
  • Prohibition of Unfair Practices: The act prohibits gatekeepers from engaging in certain unfair practices, such as self-preferencing and leveraging their market power to stifle competition. It aims to create a level playing field for smaller businesses and new entrants.
  • Data Access and Interoperability: DMA aims to enhance data portability and interoperability, allowing users to move their data easily between platforms. This encourages competition and empowers consumers to have more control over their data.
  • App Store Rules: The DMA addresses the issue of app stores and requires gatekeepers to ensure transparency, fair terms, and non-discrimination for app developers. This means fair access to app distribution and a reduction in app store fees for developers.
  • Supervision and Fines: The DMA establishes a dedicated authority within the European Commission to supervise and enforce gatekeepers' compliance with the regulations. Non-compliance can lead to substantial fines (10% of annual turnover), meaning gatekeepers have a strong incentive to abide by these new rules.

So, what’s Google doing? 

Google is committed to complying with local regulations and is working to help advertisers/publishers navigate changes that may impact how they currently use their products. They released a blog post in late October 2023 stating “Upgrade your Analytics 360 properties to Google Analytics 4 by March 2024 to preserve measurement and campaign performance.” But the DMA has a greater effect on all Google technologies, as without explicit consent being passed to Google, the thing every marketer uses as the cornerstone of their strategies is null and void.

What exactly is affected, you ask?

  • Audiences, specifically first-party data that we use across all levels of our consumer journey funnels, are collected on websites, apps and both online and off. Essentially, any seed list upload, plus the ability to use that list at all for audience targeting such as Remarketing Audiences, Exclusions, Similar/Look-alike, etc., will be affected.
  • Measurement will likely follow a similar fate in the following weeks/months after March 6 - keep an eye on our website for updates.

What's the Impact I can expect? Without the updated version of Consent Mode or Google APIs and software development kits (SDKs) deployed, you will not be able to utilise first-party data audiences. Thus, you should expect a big drop in spend/volume, which will impact campaign performances utilising these capabilities. This will affect those advertising across the countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), regardless of where the advertiser is located.

What can I do to mitigate this? 

As this is an evolving space, to understand what you need to do next, please visit our dedicated DMA website which will keep you up to date on all things DMA, the impact and solutions to support you before March 6 2024. 

We’re running live webinars for further education and information on solutions in English, French and Spanish. Sign up for a live session via our website, and we’ll send you a recording if you can’t make it.

And, of course, the Jellyfish team are ready to speak with you at any time. 

All the latest platform information around the DMA will be added to our dedicated website

Stay informed