Competition in Display Ad Technology: A Retrospective Look at Google/Doubleclick and Google/Admob

By Dan Bitton, David Pearl, Maurits Dolmans & Henry Mostyn

This article seeks to demystify the complex online advertising ecosystem and correct some common misconceptions about it. It conducts a retrospective analysis of the Google/DoubleClick and Google/AdMob merger reviews, and concludes that agencies were right to reject complaints that the transactions would lead to anticompetitive effects. To the contrary, a review of competitive indicia available today show that display advertising and ad tech continue to be marked by constant disruptive innovation, growing output, new entry and expansion, and large numbers of players competing with differentiated offerings. If vertically integrated ad tech players attempted to engage in anticompetitive behavior, advertisers and publishers could, and would, take their business elsewhere, whether to other vertically integrated providers or to popular point players.

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