47% of marketers think this is the hardest part of Privacy Sandbox (and much more from our webinar with Google, Gameloft, and Tinuiti)
On April 26, 2021, half the mobile marketing world changed as Apple released iOS 14.5 and SKAdNetwork. Something similar will happen for the other half of the mobile universe, likely at some point next year in 2024, when Google flips the switch on Privacy Sandbox on Android and — perhaps simultaneously — Privacy Sandbox on the web. We recently hosted a webinar with Google, Gameloft, and Tinuiti to help the ecosystem prepare. One of the things we learned: what marketers consider to be the hardest part of Privacy Sandbox.
We invited panelists from Google, Gameloft, and Tinuiti to join Singular co-founder Eran Friedman:
- Kelly Gieschen, strategic partner manager, Privacy Sandbox, at Google
- Vasil Georgiev, UA director at Gameloft
- Mollie Sheridan, senior manager mobile app paid search, Tinuiti
As it turns out, the hardest part of Privacy Sandbox could be the same as the most important part: understanding measurement results.
When we asked participants during the webinar what they thought would be most challenging, here’s what they said:
- Understanding measurement results: 47%
- Setting up conversion models: 20%
- Keeping track of cohorts: 12%
- Targeting: 12%
- Retargeting: 8%
That and other challenges just in learning what will become the new official system for attribution, targeting, retargeting, and SDK management on Android is stressing marketers out.
68% are concerned. 17% are terrified, according to the sample of marketers attending the webinar. Only 15% are either “happy” or “fine.”
The good news is that Singular, Gameloft, and Google are already beta-testing the hardest part of Privacy Sandbox as well as every other part. Check out the webinar for an update on how that test is going.
Here are some of the highlights of the webinar, which is available via on-demand viewing right now.
2 beliefs behind Android Privacy Sandbox
“Privacy Sandbox believes first that user privacy and a healthy mobile ecosystem are not at odds. And, two, that a blunt approach without providing working alternatives does not work and will make users worse off. So with those two principles in mind, we envision technology where privacy takes precedence while businesses can still thrive and be successful.”
– Kelly Gieschen, strategic partner manager, Privacy Sandbox, at Google
Essentially, Gieschen says, it’s about allowing businesses to continue their growth and marketing initiatives without having to use granular user-level data, or capturing device identifiers that could be used for cross-app tracking.
Advertising APIs and context APIs
Most mobile marketers know the core APIs in Privacy Sandbox by now. It is interesting, however, to see how Google insiders approach them: as building blocks for the industry to innovate on top of.
There’s 3 advertising APIs, 2 of which are “relevance APIs:”
- Topics and Protected Audiences are relevance APIs
- The third advertising API is Attribution Reporting
“Topics provides high-level user signal interests and may be combined with contextual signals and first-party data so that SSPs and publishers can select relevant ads. Then we have Protected Audiences, which supports more granular remarketing use cases, enabling ad tech marketers, developers, advertisers to reach audiences who’ve shown interest in a specific brand or product in a privacy-preserving way.”
– Kelly Gieschen, strategic partner manager, Privacy Sandbox, at Google
Those matter in the MMP space, and there’s some work happening on them, says Singular cofounder Eran Freidman, but the Attribution Reporting API is naturally where marketing measurement companies are going to focus.
“Naturally, it’s the biggest focus for us as an MMP and we’re putting a lot of resources on that, from testing the framework, integrating with the different media partners, or designing the product to… provide the essential performance reporting.”
Differences between SKAN and Privacy Sandbox
“There are similar principles between the frameworks … but if we talk about the differences, there are many,” says Eran Friedman.
Some of the differences:
- Privacy Sandbox aggregation keys for campaign, creative, placement and optimization data provide far more range than even SKAN 4’s campaign IDs
- Wanting more data points comes with a cost in Privacy Sandbox: the more values you encode and the more granular you try to go, the more random noise gets injected into the data. In SKAN, there are fewer data points, but once you pass privacy thresholds (SKAN 3) or crowd anonymity (SKAN 4) you get essentially all your data.
- In Privacy Sandbox you always get some data, even at very low scale campaigns, while under SKAN you need to pass certain minimum install number thresholds. That number is less with SKAN 4 than with SKAN 3, but it remains. The tradeoff for Privacy Sandbox for Android is that at low thresholds, more noise or junk data is inserted.
There’s another key difference between SKAN and Privacy Sandbox that Gameloft UA director Vasil Georgiev highlighted, and that’s testing.
You’ll be able to do far more testing far easier under Privacy Sandbox than under SKAN, simply because you have more ability to encode variables.
“It’s very clear that one of the first differences is that the opportunities for testing will be enormous,” Georgiev says. “We are not going to be limited to the things that we can test.”
From tracking everything to trade-offs
You don’t achieve privacy without cost. There will be loss of signal, similar to what we’ve seen on iOS with ATT and SKAdNetwork. Probably less loss of signal, but loss nevertheless.
“Today marketers can track everything they want, everything they can,” says Gieschen. “And that practice would have to fundamentally change. And depending on what marketers want to look at specifically, there may be trade-offs on granularity and richness of information versus noise and delays.”
Some of the trade-offs refer to how much detailed information you, as highlighted above. Some refer to how quickly you want information, says Tinuiti’s Mollie Sheridan.
“If you’re pulling reports more often, there’s going to be less accurate data and Google is going to inject that noise data just to protect privacy,” she says. “You’re going to have to decide if you want to wait longer periods for more accurate data or if you want shorter periods.”
That said, most things marketers want to do today will still work under Privacy Sandbox for Android. The art and the science will be balancing granularity versus aggregation as well as speed versus accuracy to achieve the best possible — not perfect — results for marketers’ attribution needs and ad networks’ optimization needs.
“You’re going to be able to optimize towards the events that you want to optimize towards, whether that be CPI, target ROAS, specific events, they’re still going to be available to you,” says Sheridan. “It’s just going to be the frequency of your reporting and the segmentation of your reporting … balancing that out to make sure that you’re getting enough volume to get the most accurate data available within this privacy-centric framework.”
The good news: actual hard-core high-scale marketers think this is going to work.
“It’s very clear that Google recognizes the minimum viable state of data and they’re trying not to block marketers from continuing to do optimizations,” Georgiev says. “And I also believe that they are trying to avoid making it more complex than it should be.”
The timetable for Privacy Sandbox full roll-out
Short answer: there isn’t one yet.
But Google promises plenty of notice before the full Privacy Sandbox roll-out does actually happen.
“We don’t have any updates that we can share publicly at the moment in terms of when 100% migration would happen,” says Gieschen. “But just as we’ve done in the past, we’ll be giving the ecosystem and partners ample notice prior to any changes regarding the beta and general availability.”
Much, much more in the full webinar, including progress on our Privacy Sandbox beta with Google and Gameloft
Check out the full webinar now to get further details on:
- Status of our Privacy Sandbox beta test
- Adapting Android user acquisition campaigns to Privacy Sandbox
- 30-day measurement windows in Privacy Sandbox
- How retargeting works
- Why first-party consent still matters
- How web to app flows and cross-platform conversions work under Privacy Sandbox
- Why Privacy Sandbox early adopters will have an advantage, and why that’s different on Android than it was on iOS when SKAN first launched
- How Singular is building an “easy button” for Privacy Sandbox
- How to decide between granularity of data and number of events you want to measure and accuracy of data under Privacy Sandbox