Google to Reportedly Allow Third-Party Ad Platforms on YouTube

This could be a way to appease European regulators.

Imad Khan Senior Reporter
Imad is a senior reporter covering Google and internet culture. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide and Wired, among others.
Expertise Google | Internet Culture
Imad Khan
2 min read
YouTube logo on a wall at the company's headquarters
James Martin/CNET

As regulators in Europe continue to crack down on Big Tech, Google will allow third-party ad platforms on YouTube in a possible attempt to settle an antitrust probe without paying a fine, according to a report from Reuters on Monday. 

The company's actions are reportedly linked to an ongoing antitrust investigation by the European Union into whether Google parent Alphabet, which also owns YouTube, gave itself an unfair advantage in digital advertising by restricting third-party ad platforms from gaining access to user data. The EU has said Google's demand that advertisers use Ad Manager and Display & Video 360, the company's ad exchange platform, restricted rivals in the types of ads served on YouTube. 

"We have been engaging constructively with the European Commission. We don't have anything further to share at this stage," Google spokesperson Allie Bodack said in a statement. "As with the Privacy Sandbox initiative, we are committed to working with regulators and the wider industry to achieve the best possible outcomes."

If Google is forced to pay the fine, it could reportedly be as high as 10% of its global turnover, or its total revenue. For such a company, 10% would be in the tens of billions of dollars. In 2021, Alphabet brought in $257 billion in revenue. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, the company reported $68 billion in sales thanks in large part to Google Search. 

The European Commission's investigation coincides with a 2020 antitrust lawsuit by the Department of Justice and a subsequent investigation over the company's ad tech business. Earlier this year, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority launched a second investigation into Google's ad tech practices and its dominance in online ad sales. 

It's part of the ongoing scrutiny that Big Tech is facing over potentially monopolistic practices. The US Senate is aiming to pass the American Innovation and Choice Online Act before the midterm elections, legislation that would prevent Amazon, Apple and Google from giving their own platforms preferential treatment. If Democrats are unable to pass the bill this session, it's uncertain if Republicans were to take control of Congress that they would reintroduce the legislation.