Roy Yanai, AVP of Product at AppsFlyer, discusses what advertisers should be doing to prepare for Privacy Sandbox.
- A new framework for measurement and targeting is coming to Android, and it differs significantly from Apple’s approach. Advertisers should take the time to understand the unique tools built for Android to make the best use of them.
- Start asking your partners (Mobile Measurement Partner, ad agencies, and ad vendors) how they are preparing for Privacy Sandbox. Partner readiness is essential to be able to hit the ground running and succeed. Internally, begin educating stakeholders on the changes and expected impact.
- Though the timelines are yet to be confirmed we expect Privacy Sandbox to be in place in 2024. Lean into Sandbox by reaching out to your MMP to begin testing. It’s imperative to begin testing now, while GAID is still available to establish performance benchmarks. Google is receptive to industry feedback, so this is your opportunity to test and guide the direction of the future of marketing and measurement on Android.
But first, a quick recap on Privacy Sandbox.
What is Google aiming to achieve?
According to Google: “The Privacy Sandbox initiative aims to create technologies that both protect people’s privacy online and give companies and developers tools to build growing digital businesses. Privacy Sandbox reduces cross-site and cross-app tracking while helping to keep online content and services free for all.”
Why does this matter to mobile marketers?
Android dominates as the leading mobile operating system globally with a market share of 71.4%. Therefore, the introduction of changes to measurement and marketing on Android could cause a tidal wave of disruption, especially if Apple’s changes to privacy are taken as a benchmark. The key change will be the likely eventual deprecation of Google Advertising ID (GAID), a unique identifier that enables app developers and marketers to measure campaign performance across media sources, as well as engage in targeting and remarketing.
Don’t panic, but do start learning
Privacy Sandbox can replace GAID with other tools for marketing and measurement, such as Topics for interest-based targeting, the Attribution API for measurement, and the Protected Audiences API for remarketing. Additionally, Privacy Sandbox introduces a new privacy forward mechanism called SDK Runtime, which safeguards the information SDKs can collect. These APIs and features are designed to be privacy-forward while enabling effective marketing.
How is AppsFlyer preparing for Privacy Sandbox?
Overall, the industry is taking a lot of learnings from the recent iOS journey to prepare for these upcoming changes on Android. But before we talk about the industry, it’s important to note that the Android solution is very robust and innately offers a framework for engagement and insights through the APIs discussed above.
Moving to industry preparation, Google is providing ample time to prepare for the launch of Privacy Sandbox before the deprecation of unique identifiers. At AppsFlyer, we’re using this time to assess Privacy Sandbox on all fronts, from SDK Runtime, Attribution API, Protected Audiences API, and Topics, and we are evaluating and testing all available solutions to ensure they fit the needs of the ecosystem while retaining the highest levels of privacy.
At AppsFlyer, we are working closely with Google and meeting with them regularly to provide our feedback on their solutions and discuss different use cases that should be considered. This dialogue is key and speaks volumes to the collaborative approach that Google is taking, by working together with trusted partners in the mobile advertising ecosystem.
An important element of testing the Privacy Sandbox solutions is looking at the insights they offer when compared to those we get when utilizing GAID. This will help us benchmark as we move to the next stage of preparation for Privacy Sandbox: innovation.
Following the testing phase of the proposed Privacy Sandbox solutions, we at AppsFlyer are working to build solutions on top of that framework to ensure brands have advanced tools to help drive informed business choices. Some examples of this include data science solutions that we will build to fill in data gaps that may exist within the Privacy Sandbox framework. Ultimately, once we build out all of these solutions and enhancements, we will apply and merge all different attribution methods to create a single source of truth, which ensures advertisers have one clear, unified, and accurate picture of their marketing performance.
Additionally, to help the wider industry get ready, we are leading many in-person and virtual events such as webinars to explain what exactly is changing and how marketers can prepare.
What are the differences between Sandbox and SKAN?
In short, Sandbox covers more functionalities and use cases when compared with SKAN. Whereas SKAN is focused solely on attribution, Privacy Sandbox covers a broader set of mobile marketing tools, in addition to attribution.
There are three main pillars of Privacy Sandbox:
- Ability to remarket via the Protected Audiences API
- Ability to attribute and measure via the Attribution API
- Ability to target utilizing signals that are interest-based or contextual via Topics
Google Sandbox covers these three areas, with the overall goal of improving attribution capabilities and ensuring ad relevance while retaining privacy.
What timeline should mobile marketers be aware of?
Though no definitive timelines have been confirmed, advertisers and networks must start working on Privacy Sandbox now rather than delay to ensure a smooth transition to this new framework.
What should advertisers be doing right now to prepare for change?
Testing while GAID is still here! Ask your MMP to help you set up attribution testing, to enable a comparison between GAID-based measurement and Privacy Sandbox tools, so that there is a reliable benchmark of what accurate data received via Privacy Sandbox looks like.
With iOS, one of the major challenges the industry faced was that there was no starting point for advertisers to find a source of truth. Data was fragmented and different attribution sources would often show conflicting metrics. Right now, we have the luxury of having the time to build out advanced solutions that will identify and fill data gaps, and advertisers should make sure to take advantage of that. But the first step is understanding where your starting point is, and that’s where testing comes in.
Who can help advertisers prepare?
A reliable MMP and an experienced mobile agency are good places to start. From our perspective at AppsFlyer, we encourage our customers to reach out to us to learn and test all of the Privacy Sandbox solutions as well as join our learning sessions.
Top tips to prepare for Privacy Sandbox
Here are three things we recommend working on now:
- Engage partners. Every mobile advertiser should discuss Privacy Sandbox with all their partners, including but not limited to their MMP, DSPs, and ad networks. Partner readiness is essential for success within the Privacy Sandbox framework.
- Lean into Privacy Sandbox. Educate yourselves about all of the solutions and begin testing them. Reach out to your partners to start testing plans, and allocate internal resources to develop testing as soon as you can.
- Start building your own solutions. Your MMP can support you, but in the end, you are the expert when it comes to your business. If you need to build out solutions on top of attribution solutions, now is the time to start working on them.
About Roy Yanai
Over the past 6 years, Roy led different product areas within AppsFlyer including Data Exchange, Analytics, Incrementality, and iOS solutions. Roy is an industry-recognized authority on changes within the mobile privacy landscape. Before AppsFlyer, Roy served as CEO & Head of Product at Mego, a startup aimed to solve eCommerce delivery pains, and founded HackIDC – Israel’s largest Hackathon.
Don’t forget to read the last Performance Power Players article from Roy where he discusses SKAN preparedness. Find out more about the AppsFlyer approach to Privacy Sandbox here.