There has been a LOT of coverage of the European Commission's €2.4bn fine on Google after criticising the way it displays product search results or "Google Shopping" as it is more widely known.
Digital marketers know Google Shopping ads as “PLAs” - Product Listing Ads. These are the picture-led listings displayed in the Google Shopping area on the right-hand side of product-based search results. These have been a very high growth area for Google in the last few years, growing faster than its traditional text ads. In fact, in Q1 of FY217, PLAs accounted for more than half of retail search ad clicks.
Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who has led the team looking into this case, states here that she has expanded investigations into Google’s AdSense and the Android mobile operating system. Other outlets have reported that they have also looked into Google’s Maps and Travel. Anyone who has worked in digital marketing over the last five years will have seen more and more organic search results move “below the fold” and noted an increasing prominence of Google’s “Map pack”, Shopping and other services from currency converters to price comparisons above organic listings.
Given the size of the fine, and that non-compliance within 90 days will lead the EU to start charging Google up to 5 percent of its global daily revenue, expect changes to be swift. In addition to potentially withdrawing its Shopping service from the European market, this finding could have a significant impact on Google search results in future. Watch this space...
“We are also making good progress with our two other pending enquiries into certain Google practices concerning Android, as well as search advertising. Our preliminary — and this is of course important, these are preliminary — conclusions in relation to both practices is that they breach EU antitrust rules.”