Google recently unmasked it’s plans for advertisers and tracking going forward. The tech and ads giant reiterated that it still plans to phase out cookies on Chrome by the end of 2024 and provided updates on the development of its post-cookie “Privacy Sandbox” solutions. Let’s have a look at those solutions now, and see if we can’t get our heads around it before go-time.

What’s a ‘Privacy Sandbox?’ Google’s Privacy Sandbox is not so much a holistic post-cookie advertising solution, but is more of a collection of new practices and technology that aims to protect consumer privacy while advertising. It’s a form of data clean room, where advertisers can mash up first-party data into a common working space that will anonymize, randomize, and generally obscure any private data, but still allow for that data to be used in targeting, frequency capping, and attribution. For more on data clean rooms, read this.

–In the beginning of its announcement, Google reiterated that privacy concerns are not going away, and admonished advertisers not to wait to adhere to new privacy concerns. “Ad tech solutions for interest-based advertising should evolve to take advantage of privacy-friendly signals to show relevant ads,” the letter reads.

–Google gave the thumbs up to a few recommended solutions: First-party data (the likes of which we’ve seen in the clean room boom), contextual signals, and privacy-oriented APIs.

–The Privacy Sandbox majors on the latter of those three options. APIs are the backbone of the Privacy Sandbox, and it is iterating on the tech with additional channels like the Topics API (launched in January), which even allows advertisers see limited user browser histories to target ads. In short, it provides a hope that through sharing data into a controlled environment, we might be able to achieve something like what we used to have with pixel-based data in its hayday.

–Chrome handles over 65% of the share of browser traffic in the US alone. When Chrome drops support for cookies, it’s going to be an apocalyptic change for people who haven’t figured out what to do next. Google’s advertising letter identifies the tech it and other companies are confident in, and contains an urgent message for advertisers: Act now.

Google has kicked the can down the road regarding the end of cookies several times, and while the two-year runway feels long, time is ever so slowly running out. Advertisers who felt relieved by the 2024 delay are being urged by Google itself not to sit idly and watch the clock run down.

Google’s endorsement of privacy-oriented first-party data is yet another stamp of approval for clean rooms, which companies like Amazon and others are relying more on as US privacy standards and regulations become more stringent.

Google seems to be getting on board with and fully embracing giving users greater control of the ad experience. In October, it revamped personal controls to let users have a say in what ads they see, and to determine what aspects of its search history and other online behaviors are accessible to advertisers. Data clean rooms are gaining consensus as perhaps the best way to achieve the goals of both advertisers and consumers, by mashing up privacy with granular reporting in a safe, private environment where user information will not be comprimised.

It would behoove us to make sure we understand this, and how to use it, before the end of 2024. As of yet, there’s no word on how companies like Facebook might leverage this technology to achieve a similar result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *