The Digital Markets Act is Here: What It Means For You

The Digital Markets Act will affect gatekeepers, your business, and maybe even your traffic volume. Here's what you need to know.

By Yext

Mar 5, 2024

8 min
The Digital Markets Act Is Here: What it Means For You

Disclaimer: As this blog provides a high-level overview of the EU Digital Markets Act, it does not constitute legal advice.

If you're a marketer, you've likely heard — and read — a lot about the Digital Markets Act (DMA). But if you're still wondering what it really means for your business, you're not alone.

Below, we'll break down everything you need to know now that the first requirements have gone into effect, including:

  • What the DMA is — and which top tech companies are impacted

  • The key adjustments these companies will have to make

  • How businesses can prepare for the changes

  • Any possible impact on Yext's Publisher Network

What is the Digital Markets Act (DMA)?

The Digital Markets Act is a piece of competition legislation passed by the European Union (EU) to regulate the power of major tech companies, referred to as "gatekeepers," in the digital sector. "Gatekeepers" refers to companies with a major impact on the EU's internal market, with a very large number of users and significant market capitalization.

The EU's goal is to keep the largest global tech companies from abusing their market power — and, in turn, to give consumers more choice and increased data security. The act will be fully in effect starting today, March 6, 2024.

Who are the impacted “gatekeepers”?

The six tech companies impacted by the DMA are:

  • Alphabet (i.e. Google, Chrome, Youtube)

  • Amazon

  • Apple (i.e. Safari, App Store)

  • Meta (i.e. Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger)

  • Microsoft (i.e. LinkedIn)

  • ByteDance

Each of these companies must adhere to a series of obligations designed to promote fair competition and innovation in their services. They've had six months to ensure their services align with the new requirements in the DMA. As of this publication, 22 services are now designated under the DMA across the six companies.

What are the key changes for companies?

The DMA contains a set of "do's and don'ts" for the gatekeepers, which leads to stricter regulations compared to how they were previously working. Some of the key obligations the DMA specifies for gatekeepers are:

  • Companies can't self-preference their own services. Companies can no longer favor their own products and services above others. Example: Android users will have an easier way to switch their default search engine on their devices.

  • Interoperability with competitors' services is required. Companies can't wall off their own ecosystem. Example: Apple must now allow for other app stores on Apple Devices.

  • Search rankings are regulated. Companies can't list their own products higher in search rankings than similar products offered by third parties. Example: When you search for hotel bookings on Google, you may now see a dedicated space in the search results showing pricing and additional information from comparison sites.

  • Data collected from platforms will be restricted. Companies can't use collected data to push their own products and services above others. They also can't track consumer's activity across the web without explicit consent from the user (think: accepting and agreeing to a pop-up). Example: LinkedIn has prompted users to accept and agree again to the data they can track.

How can your business stay ahead of potential impact?

As the DMA officially takes effect, businesses can prepare by optimizing their digital presence to help drive discoverability and engagement by customers across all channels. Consider the following tips:

1. Maintain a robust digital presence

Did you know that the more information your listings contain, the better they're likely to perform in local search results? Having a rich, robust digital presence across channels improves discoverability and makes customers more likely to interact with you.

Consider optimizing your listings by adding descriptions and photos, responding to reviews, providing detailed product data, and completing your list of services. On local pages, update your structured data to help customers find accurate and up-to-date information.

2. Move beyond generic keywords

If you haven't moved beyond typical keyword research to determine what content to create, now is the time.

Take a look at questions and comments from your consumers on social media, feedback on reviews, and other user-generated content about your brand. By incorporating feedback from consumers, you can provide more personalized content to your consumers that may lead to higher engagement.

3. Create the best customer experience

The DMA is focused on ensuring consumers have broader choices and access to more data sources.

To make sure consumers believe you are the best result, you should curate an experience that is thoughtful and authentic to your brand. Ensure that your information is always accurate across all places you appear on social media and across the web. Having a consistent experience for your consumers builds trust in your brand. Frequently reviewing and updating your data in Yext Content can help with this.

4. Consistently review business insights

The DMA is just one more reminder that the only constant is change. That's why constantly reviewing insights — and making data-informed decisions — is so important.

Capture your metrics and prepare reports to compare and contrast the before and after of this. If you're a Yext customer, you can easily use Yext Analytics to compare a before and after of your online presence across all sites you are syncing your business data to. You may still have work to do when these changes manifest, but you will also have a deeper understanding of what's driving the change.

Diving in further: what does this mean for Yext’s Publisher Network?

Some publishers in the Yext network have been designated as "gatekeepers" pursuant to the DMA. These include Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. (Bing was originally included, but was marked as exempt in January 2024.) For the publishers that are considered gatekeepers, there may be changes to how your business listings appear in search results on their platforms across various devices like desktop, mobile, and voice.

It's more important than ever for your data to appear correctly across all third-party sites that list your business information — and to not neglect any part of your digital presence. The good news: since the DMA requires these companies to showcase search results from more sources, the change might result in additional impressions and engagement for Yext client listings across Yext's extended publisher network. (Indeed, Yext closely partners with over 200 publishers globally to help keep your data accurate and up-to-date everywhere consumers are looking for your business.)

The TLDR: until we see the planned changes to Google's SERPs in the real world after launch, we don't foresee major changes for Yext. The Yext platform is already set up to help with anticipated changes in several ways:

  • We allow you to manage and maintain large amounts of data about your business

  • We have partnerships with over 200 publishers that may become more relevant in results across the gatekeepers' products

  • We give you insight into Analytics about how your businesses are doing across the web — so you can keep track of potential changes

Again, we will see how the results manifest in the real world, but we will keep you up to date as changes are released and let you know how you can adapt.

Finally: what does this mean for Google?

Since finding out about the regulations in the DMA, Google has had to make various updates to their services to comply. We've started to see changes testing the positioning of content within a page as Google attempts to comply with the need to showcase other sources and not act self-referentially.

New Structured Data Carousels

Google has started testing updates to their Search Results by adding different "units" to allow users to highlight and compare other sites easily. These will be accessible via "refinement chips" within the Google Search Results. These units, named "Places Sites," will show results from other Listings publishers including information from those listings such as images, reviews and ratings, and other attributes. It will be interesting to see how users engage with this update once it's launched.

Image showing the before and after of the update to Google Search Results after the EU Digital Markets Act.

Source: Google Search Central, February 29, 2024

SEO Guide Update

Indirectly related, Google has updated their SEO Guide for the first time in many years, condensing the content and recommendations they have for SEO practices on Google.

Looking Ahead

What does this mean for the UK?

Since the United Kingdom is not part of the European Union, the DMA is not valid in the UK. That said, there are several pieces of recent legislation that govern the actions of large technology companies.

The Online Safety Act — which received Royal Assent on October 26, 2023 — places new obligations on tech platforms, requiring that they monitor and control content that could cause harm to minors. Additionally, something called the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill is currently within the UK Parliamentary process — and it includes measures that overlap with the DMA in aiming to control the competitive marketplace in which these platforms operate.

For UK-based businesses who may operate in both markets, it's important to keep up to date with legislative updates in both the UK and the EU — and the rest of this post likely contains valuable information for your operations. With the legislation now in full effect, there is a chance that many businesses won't notice a significant difference to ranking, clicks, and engagement.

What's next in the EU?

If we do see large changes, this could point to the fact that Google had an outsized influence — and suggest that businesses will now need to look beyond a singular focus on "ranking in Google." We may learn that different publishers are more valued by consumers, or that functionality that's been removed was indeed preferred by searchers.

Ultimately, people will adjust. (Let's be honest: at least initially, it remains unlikely that they will leave Google in any great numbers due to the changes the DMA will require.) But if the new paradigm of the SERP makes it more difficult for consumers to get access to answers, it will become even more important for a brand to rank well organically.

Whatever the case, this is just the beginning. As the EU rolls out possible market investigations and gains experience in applying the DMA, the way the legislation is understood may evolve — but that's okay. At Yext, we will keep you up to date and help you adapt to the changes in the market — ensuring that you can deliver consistent, accurate, and engaging experiences across your digital presence.

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