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Mar 6 2023
Google announced plans to improve user privacy on Android in late 2022, which piqued the interest of marketers everywhere. The question of what Android intends to do and how it will affect business as usual was at the forefront of everyone's mind.
We outlined some of the primary changes that will come with the launch of Privacy Sandbox, as well as the steps marketers can take to prepare, after reviewing documentation and working closely with the Android team. Let's get started.
The deprecation of Google Advertising ID is a major part of Google's announcement (GAID). GAID is a unique device identifier that Android uses to link user ad activity to conversion data. GAID is now primarily used for:
Now that we know how GAID has been used, let's figure out who is the primary beneficiary of it so we can figure out what needs to change and how when GAID is deprecated.
When we look at GAID usage, we can see from the table above that marketers will be most affected by its deprecation in their current measurement and remarketing efforts. Let's focus on those areas to figure out how to prepare.
There's no need to panic when it comes to measurement and analytics. GAID's deprecation does not spell the end of marketing measurement.
Google Play Install Referrer, one of the primary attribution methods on Android, will continue to exist in the post-GAID reality, which speaks volumes about business continuity. Currently, Google Play referrer accounts for 29% of Apps' Android install attributions. We recommend investigating your current data to help you prepare for Privacy Sandbox. One of the fields in raw data reports is labeled match type>. You can see how many of your current installs use Google Play Referrer attribution under match type>. This simple data query may assuage any concerns about drastic changes in attribution measurement.
Regardless of the Google Play Install Referrer's importance, there is no denying that GAID is currently the foundation and cornerstone for a large portion of measurement activities. With the launch of the Attribution API, Privacy Sandbox introduces new methods for campaign measurement to assist marketers in continuing their attribution efforts without the assistance of GAID. The Attribution API provides two types of reports: event-level and aggregated. Each report offers unique benefits and insights.
Today, remarketing relies heavily on GAID. Marketers can now define audiences based on user preferences, interests, and app usage, and then generate a list of GAIDs to activate a remarketing campaign for these users. In light of the impending deprecation of GAID, Google launched FLEDGE, an on-device, privacy-focused audience management and advertising solution.
The changes introduced by FLEDGE may have varying degrees of impact on marketers. Customers who use the Audiences tool, for example, will not notice any significant changes; audience creation within ASOWorld supports the FLEDGE changes and will allow different ad networks to personalize ads based on the configurations each marketer sets.
However, if you are used to creating audiences in your own BI, you may have to do some heavy lifting. It will no longer be possible to create user lists and send them to various partners. So, how do you adjust? There are several options:
In addition to the changes experienced by marketers, FLEDGE introduces significant changes to ad networks in two primary areas:
Setting the audience - To add or remove a user from an audience in FLEDGE's current structure, an SDK with the ability to communicate with Fledge is required on the advertiser's app. Ad networks will need to build integrations that allow audiences to build functionalities with the help of MMPs.
User bidding - A major component of FLEDGE is not only building audiences, but also assisting various ad networks with a privacy-centric bidding solution. FLEDGE enables on-device bidding between the SSP and the DSP. Ad networks will need to adapt their bidding strategies and solutions to ensure that the right ads are shown to the right users at the lowest possible cost.
In addition to ASOWorld's current solution, we are supporting the ecosystem by facilitating audience creation on the ad network side, which is in line with our higher level vision of promoting privacy-centric insight. FLEDGE, as previously stated, is an on-device solution; any audience creation requires an on-device presence (SDK).
Third-party data is a key input for ad networks' targeting capabilities. That is, when app.game.com sends user123's usage data to an ad network, which can then be used to target user123 with ads for a different gaming app. Cross-app targeting based on user-level data is a major part of what Google is attempting to prevent; we are likely to see a significant impact on ad networks' ability to target in the post-GAID era, but there are solutions that may assist ad networks in ensuring contextual ad delivery to users. Among these options are:
Topics, one of Google's suggested solutions, aid in cross-app marketing. This is an on-device solution that protects user privacy while allowing cross-app targeting signals. Ad networks will need to adopt Topics and optimize based on them.
API signals for attribution
As previously stated, one of the key features of the Attribution API is event-level reporting. Based on user-level data, this reporting allows for a limited number of postbacks. For example, an ad network may know that click-id123 purchased the advertised app, but these reports are delayed to protect end user privacy.
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While change is scary (and Privacy Sandbox brings a lot of it), the changes Android is bringing to the ecosystem are moving it in the right direction: away from user-level data addiction and toward privacy-forward approaches.
To begin preparing for GAID's deprecation, we encourage marketers to reduce their reliance on user-level data and begin embracing and utilizing aggregated insights. Finally, prepare for a cozy winter by learning more about this evolving system; Google provides ample documentation.
Asoworld's ASO experts have been keeping a close eye on updates to the Google and Apple Stores. How will Google's privacy sandbox policies work and how will it affect app promotion? We will continue to follow these, you can follow our blog for the latest news.
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