EU Regulator To Whack Google Again; Snap Layers On Ad Features

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The EU Turns The Screws

Google paid off a $2.8 billion fine in June after Europe’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, found the company had leveraged its search engine dominance to anti-competitively promote its online shopping service. Now Vestager “is gearing up to hit the web giant with an antitrust penalty over AdSense, its powerful advertising network, with a decision expected in the next few weeks,” reports The Telegraph. The fine is expected to be substantial – Google would be lucky if it measures in the hundreds of millions, not billions. On top of that, Vestager is shooting for a hat trick next year when she’s expected to levy a record-breaking antitrust fine over the Android mobile operating system’s monopolistic promotion of Google services. More.

In Context

Snap is opening its sponsored lenses and filters to Context Cards, which a user swipes through to learn more about a brand or make a booking or purchase, reports Business Insider. Snap launched the cards last month as an add-on for venue and business account posts. Lionsgate is testing the new feature to promote its upcoming movie “Wonder” by linking Context Cards to pages where users can view screening times and purchase tickets. The promise of closed-loop attribution may be just what Snap needs after a rough first year as a public company. “The more they can show that they can help advertisers actually drive their business, the more likely they are to get more advertiser revenue,” says Tom Buontempo, president at ad agency Attention. More at Business Insider.

Beauty Of Ecommerce

In the spirit of direct-to-consumer platforms trying to be all things to all people, Spotify is trying its hand at ecommerce. The music streaming platform paired the launch of makeup artist Pat McGrath’s new cosmetics line on Monday with the release of teen pop star Maggie Lindemann’s single via an integration with ecommerce provider Merchbar, which artists use to sell merchandise on the platform. Listeners can purchase McGrath’s new cosmetics exclusively through Lindemann’s Spotify page. Spotify won’t take a cut of sales, but it improves its standing with musicians and generates valuable data. More at TechCrunch.

The Prime Directive

Amazon Prime video inventory has been limited to “first episode free with a view” deals or broadcast deals like Amazon’s NFL live coverage – which had commercial spots but was still only available to $99-per-year Prime subscribers. But now “the company is talking with TV networks, movie studios and other media companies about providing programming” for a free, ad-supported streaming service, writes AdAge’s Garett Sloane. Amazon is focused on its ad-free subscription library because it’s one of Prime’s stickiest benefits, Amazon execs said during the company’s investor report in October. And rumors of a free, ad-supported video service have circulated around Amazon for years, with no action so far. A free version could be a hit, and brands are certainly clamoring for a chance to get in front of OTT stars like Netflix, HBO and Prime. But off-ramping potential Prime sign-ups into a free alternative comes with drawbacks. More at AdAge.

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