Google’s Privacy Sandbox Announcement. What Does It Mean for the AdTech industry?

Feb 16, 2022
By: Matt Tubergen

Today Google announced updates to its handling of customer privacy and user tracking across apps. While this industry news has been long anticipated after Apple announced its IDFA plans a few years ago, it’s exciting to see Google’s approach aimed at ensuring a healthy app ecosystem — benefiting users, developers and businesses alike.

The Android sandbox plans to tackle on device storage and sharing of in-app activity, so for those ad companies heavily reliant on third party in-app usage data will likely need to find alternatives to targeting and optimization 

While details are still ongoing, and with no updates planned until at least the end of 2022, there are a few things for those in the advertising business to think about:

  • Google’s deployment of on device technology most likely will not revolve around consent like Apple’s overaggressive App Tracking Transparency (ATT) and SKAdNetwork (SKAN) frameworks. 
  • Buyers of third party audience data will need to consider their inventory source and platform solution wisely.
  • This is a much more advertising-friendly and “less blunt” approach than Apple’s rushed rollout of ATT. Remember Google has been evolving the way they have handled 3rd party cookies since they first announced Privacy Sandbox in Aug 2019 (FLOC, TurtleDove, Fledge, etc). Google has demonstrated a willingness to work with industry and regulatory stakeholders as it pertains to attribution. 

This is all good news for Digital Turbine and others, who are leveraging data and identifiers appropriately.  Nonetheless, we anticipate there will mainly be two camps within the ad tech marketplace:

  • Platforms that are overly dependent on third party data and potentially impression-based attribution will be disproportionately impacted.
  • Platforms that are more focused on contextual targeting in a safe and secure way and are NOT reliant on third party data sharing or acquisition of in-app data (like Digital Turbine), could benefit.

We’re excited about Google’s now more public privacy focus.  We continue to be actively focused on the needs and wants of the consumer in a safe and privacy compliant manner, not just in our strategic partnership with Google, but also in our active work with our leading global mobile operators and OEMs.

By Matt Tubergen
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