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One year in, GDPR seems to have helped Google & Facebook

One year in, GDPR seems to have helped Google & Facebook
[Photo: ev/Unsplash]

Last year, the long-awaited General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws went into effect throughout the European Union. They were essentially new rules that overhauled how digital companies gathered data and acquired consent from their users. Companies found to be in violation of these regulations would be hit with strict fines.

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Now that 12 months have passed since the new rules went into effect, we can see what sort of impact they’ve had. While every company dealing with digital data in Europe had to make big changes, as of now, it seems like the big guys weren’t adversely affected.

In fact, the opposite appears to be the case.

New projections from eMarketer show that Google and Facebook are both continuing to grow their share of the digital advertising market in the United Kingdom. Google will represent 38.8% of the market in that region, and Facebook will scoop up 24.5% by the end of 2019. That comes to 63.3% of the U.K. digital advertising market from just those two companies. For comparison, eMarketer says the duopoly will represent on 59.3% in the U.S.

Google and Facebook’s U.K. ad dominance is only growing, too. According to eMarketer’s forecast, the two will represent 64.7% of the U.K.’s market share by 2021.

The organizations that have taken the biggest hit, it seems, are the smaller companies that had to overhaul their programs to conform to the new GDPR rules. As a result, they likely lost some footing while restructuring their programs. Meanwhile, Google and Facebook continue to grow their domain.

In an emailed statement, eMarketer’s principal analyst, Bill Fisher, said that some change may be on the horizon for the two digital behemoths. Namely, large fines continue to be levied against them as revelations surface about data collection malfeasance. Fisher writes:

However, there are signs that the various regional agencies are pushing harder than ever to take to task the digital behemoths. Recent data breaches affecting Facebook, for example, are prompting agencies to push for the maximum fine of 4% of worldwide revenue, which equates to around $1.6 billion. Facebook and Google have deep pockets, sure, but there are only so many fines that they’ll be willing to accept.

Is there any amount of money that will cause Google and Facebook to stumble? I suppose GDPR is one way to see. Perhaps we’ll have a clearer answer next year.

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