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Navigating Google Privacy Sandbox Part 1: Webinar Q&A

By April 3, 2024Education, Strategic Consulting 12 Min Read

Answers to your questions from the Kochava Foundry webinar

Grant Simmons, VP of Kochava Foundry, and Ethan Lewis, Chief Technology Officer at Kochava, recently hosted the webinar Navigating Google Privacy Sandbox—Part 1, where they unpacked the industry’s upcoming sea change with Google’s rollout of Privacy Sandbox for Android and spotlighted key trends in the shift in mobile toward user privacy. In this follow-up, they have compiled audience questions to address and elaborate upon in further detail.

Check out the full webinar on demand here.

#1 Has Google published the timeline for deprecating their Advertising ID (ADID) from Android?

Google has not yet published a definitive timeline for the deprecation of ADID, also sometimes called Google Advertising ID (GAID), from Android. The ADID/GAID is anticipated to follow a similar path as Apple’s IDFA insofar as its utility for tracking and measurement is expected to diminish. Given Google’s significant stake in the adtech ecosystem, their ADID phaseout may be more gradual compared to Apple’s rapid deprecation of IDFA. There are indications the deprecation process could begin with the phasing out of third-party cookies, expected to start this fall. Google’s active development of APIs for Privacy Sandbox signals a move toward testing with publishers later this year, with a broader rollout and ADID deprecation potentially starting next year. Marketers should prepare for a future where public unique identifiers such as ADID are no longer available and seek alternative privacy-centric measurement solutions.

#2 Is Google going to deprecate Google Play Install Referrer?

While Google has not made a formal announcement regarding this, there are indications they may deprecate the use of UTM parameters, which are critical for mobile tracking as they can be picked up via the Play Store and used to power Google Analytics. The potential deprecation of these links could begin next year, signifying a pivotal shift in mobile tracking and analytics.

#3 How does this compare to iOS App Store data restrictions?

Google’s Privacy Sandbox and Apple’s SKAdNetwork (SKAN) share the goal of enhancing user privacy while providing campaign performance metrics. Both are designed to be anonymous while offering event-level reporting. Their approaches differ, however, with Privacy Sandbox developed through broader community collaboration, while SKAN is an Apple-led initiative. Privacy Sandbox aims to provide tools for targeted advertising without individual user tracking, whereas SKAN offers a more limited framework for iOS app advertising attribution. Advertisers face challenges with both due to reduced granularity of data.

#4 How does this impact MMM, if at all?

Marketing mix modeling (MMM) is likely to thrive, as it relies on modeling of aggregated data as opposed to the granular data necessary for last-touch attribution. MMM platforms, such as AIM by Kochava, can ingest SKAN and Privacy Sandbox data to power their models and help marketers understand influence and incrementality across channel partners. Separately, mobile measurement partners (MMPs) will play a crucial role in understanding data connections, providing tailored measurement solutions, and syndicating measurement data as needed.

#5 How will Privacy Sandbox impact app remarketing, both gaming and non-gaming?

The exact mechanisms for user suppression or retargeting within Privacy Sandbox are not yet clear. However, it is expected that aggregate data will be managed via API, with flags indicating prior customers vs. new ones. Brands will need to differentiate between new and existing customers and communicate this information to the networks they engage with for remarketing. They should also continue to invest in owned media as a pillar of their remarketing strategy.

#6 How will Privacy Sandbox work for user acquisition? How is Kochava thinking about its role working with SDK-less partners, the delegation functionality in PAAPI, and PAS?

Google Privacy Sandbox is set to introduce new frameworks for user acquisition that prioritize user privacy. For instance, the Attribution Reporting API within Privacy Sandbox will enable advertisers to measure campaign performance without relying on traditional identifiers. As an MMP, Kochava is preparing to adapt to these changes by exploring SDK-less integrations and server-to-server clean room integrations. Kochava—an approved testing partner with Google—is actively involved in testing these new mechanisms. The second part of our Google Privacy Sandbox webinar series will delve deeper into how these integrations will function as well as the role of Kochava in this evolving landscape. It will also address to what extent Kochava will interact with the Protected Audiences API (PAAPI) and Protected App Signals (PAS).

#7 How will cookie deprecation impact DSPs and SSPs since they heavily rely on pixels? Do we know what Privacy Sandbox for app tracking will look like? What do we know of the differentiators as compared to SKAN?

Cookie deprecation will significantly impact DSPs and SSPs that have traditionally relied on pixels and third-party cookies for targeting and tracking. With Privacy Sandbox, Google aims to replace these methods with privacy-first alternatives, such as the Topics API for interest-based advertising and Attribution Reporting API for campaign measurement. These changes will challenge DSPs and SSPs to adapt their strategies, possibly leading to increased use of data clean rooms and data lakes. Google’s Privacy Sandbox for app tracking is expected to share similarities with Apple’s SKAdNetwork (SKAN), such as privacy-enhancing technology and anonymous reporting, albeit with its own unique approach to rollout, collaboration, and distribution effects.

#8 Is managing Google Privacy Sandbox on the roadmap for Kochava?

Kochava is an authorized testing partner with Google and actively engaged in managing the transition to Privacy Sandbox. The company is testing the new APIs and frameworks to assess their implications for mobile attribution and develop solutions that align with the privacy-first direction of the industry. As part of their commitment to adapting to these changes, Kochava will be integrating Privacy Sandbox features into services to help clients navigate the new landscape, with a strong initial focus on the Attribution Reporting API.

#9 Is Google Privacy Sandbox going to cost anything for the agencies that use it?

While there may not be direct costs associated with using Privacy Sandbox, the shift to privacy-first attribution methods will require agencies to adapt their strategies and potentially invest in new technologies or partnerships. The changes brought by Privacy Sandbox will be integrated into the adtech ecosystem, and agencies will need to evolve their practices accordingly. This evolution may involve indirect costs related to training, technology adoption, and changes in campaign management.

#10 What is the biggest challenge with Google Privacy Sandbox, and is there an upside of Google Privacy Sandbox from a marketing standpoint?

The biggest challenge with Privacy Sandbox is the shift away from deterministic attribution methods, requiring marketers to adopt more aggregated and model-based approaches to measurement. For the marketing industry, this will demand a new mindset and potentially new skill sets. On the other hand, the upside is an increased focus on consumer privacy, which may enhance trust and potentially improve the public perception of the advertising industry. Marketers will need to become more creative and strategic in how they target and measure campaigns, focusing on privacy-preserving methods that align with consumer expectations.

#11 Is there a POV on retention analytics and how this is going to be impacted/go away?

Retention analytics in the context of Privacy Sandbox remains an area of uncertainty. However, it is expected that technology solutions will be developed to assist with this aspect of analytics. Google has demonstrated a collaborative approach in the development of Privacy Sandbox, which suggests that feedback from stakeholders will influence shaping the future of retention analytics. It is important for marketers to stay informed and adapt to new tools and methodologies that emerge as Privacy Sandbox evolves.

#12 How does identity work in Privacy Sandbox for Android? Is it still based on advertising identifiers?

In Privacy Sandbox for mobile, identity will not rely on publicly available unique advertising identifiers. Instead, Google will utilize aggregated and anonymized data based on user information associated with Google accounts. This approach aims to preserve user privacy while still providing useful data for advertisers. The data will be structured to prevent the identification of individual users, aligning with the privacy-first initiatives of Privacy Sandbox.

#13 As a user, will I be able to opt out of certain interest topics within the Topics API?

While it is unclear whether users will have the ability to opt in or out of specific topics within Privacy Sandbox, it is expected that a new consent mechanism will be introduced on Android, similar to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework on iOS. This mechanism will likely govern user consent for data collection and use in a privacy-conscious manner.

#14 What about gaming in the Topics API? Will it be broken down by subcategories?

The granularity of the Topics API, particularly for gaming, is not yet fully known. Initially, it is expected that categories may be broad and not provide the level of detail desired by performance marketers in the gaming sector. As Privacy Sandbox matures, however, it is possible that more specific subcategories would be introduced. In the meantime, marketers should focus on leveraging Event and Summary API data, which may offer more actionable insights in the early stages of Privacy Sandbox implementation.

#15 DSPs have spent a lot of time building out high-performance targeting products, but with Privacy Sandbox, they have to work within the browser or on device. How handicapped will their technical capabilities be if they can’t host massive amounts of campaign/targeting data in the browser memory? Or can they?

Demand-side platforms (DSPs) will face significant challenges as they adapt to the constraints of Privacy Sandbox, particularly with its limitations on using browser or on-device storage for campaign and targeting data. The extent to which DSPs can utilize such storage is uncertain, and it is likely that such capabilities will be restricted to ensure user privacy. DSPs may need to explore alternative strategies to comply with the new privacy regulations, relying less on extensive data storage within the browser.

#16 Will event-level reporting postbacks in Google Privacy Sandbox for Android have any kind of delay as with Apple’s SKAdNetwork?

Event-level reporting postbacks within Privacy Sandbox will indeed include delays similar to those in SKAdNetwork. These delays are part of the privacy-preserving features designed to prevent identification of individual users. The specific mechanisms and timing of these delays may differ from those in SKAN, and we expect to be able to clarify further details in the second part of our Google Privacy Sandbox webinar series. Marketers should anticipate adjustments to their reporting and analysis processes to accommodate these delays.

Got more questions on Google Privacy Sandbox?

If you seek clarity on how Google Privacy Sandbox for Android will impact your mobile marketing strategies or have specific concerns about this landmark transition, Kochava Foundry is ready to assist. Our team of experts can provide guidance on navigating these changes and help you adapt your mobile app campaign strategies for success in a privacy-first landscape. Set up an expert consultation with us to explore how we can support your needs and keep you ahead in the evolving digital advertising ecosystem.