EU Marketing Rules: Google’s $5B Fine & Its Impact on Digital Marketers

Adam Smartschan

Partner & Chief Strategy Officer

The European Union fired a major shot in its ongoing standoff with Google this week, fining the search giant roughly $5 billion for antitrust violations related to its Android mobile operating system. What does this mean for professionals anxiously following evolving EU marketing rules?

EU marketing rules are changing.

The first takeaway for marketers is that this is not a product of the General Data Protection Regulation, which formally went into effect in May. That wide-ranging set of rules deals with the way companies collect, store, process, use and monetize users’ personally identifiable information. Today’s action alleges that Google abused the dominance of Android in the EU to stifle search competition by forcing manufacturers to pre-install Google apps and preventing them from selling devices running on alternative versions of Android. No GDPR here.

While this does relate to changing EU marketing rules, its is not a product of GDPR.

Second, critically: Europe is taking digital user experience, privacy and other EU marketing rules very seriously. Even if they’re not working for a Google-sized enterprise, marketers and product managers need to take notice. Make sure you’re telling users exactly what they’re getting when they buy or use your product. Make sure your EULA and privacy policy are ship-shape. And definitely make sure you’re not requiring anything untoward of your partners.

Finally, if you’re using the Google ecosystem to target EU residents, pay very close attention. Android, Google Search and the like absolutely dominate Europe now. Could that change? Right now, we don’t know. But it’s entirely possible that other options for EU-based digital advertising will rise in the wake of this … and whatever’s to come.

Adam Smartschan

Adam Smartschan heads Altitude's strategic marketing and branding efforts. An award-winning writer and editor by trade in a former life, he now specializes in data analytics, search engine optimization, digital advertising strategy, conversion rate optimization and technical integrations. He holds numerous industry certifications and is a frequent speaker on topics around B2B marketing strategy and SEO.