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Privacy Sandbox for Android due date: Google teases us with an arrival announcement

By John Koetsier November 21, 2022

Don’t get too excited. Don’t stop your SKAN 4 preparations (and yes, Singular’s latest SDK is out and SKAdNetwork 4.0 ready). But Google just teased a due date for Privacy Sandbox for Android, and that’s something to prepare for as well.

Not quite as good as Christmas, but hey: that’s why they call it work.

Like predicted due dates for most newborns, the arrival time frame is not very precise. Privacy Sandbox for Android will start rolling out “early next year,” we’re told:

“Beginning early next year we plan to roll out the initial Privacy Sandbox Beta to Android 13 mobile devices, so that developers can take the next steps in testing these new solutions.”

That probably doesn’t mean January. It likely means February or March, while April would be stretching the definition of “early next year” perhaps just a bit too much. So while there’s no huge urgency to be Privacy Sandbox ready tomorrow — and this is just an initial release, remember — this is a wakeup call that the upheaval we’ve seen on the iOS side of the mobile advertising ecosystem will at some point be joined by additional change on the Android side.

What will you have to do with Privacy Sandbox for Android in 2023?

Full arrival and industry-wide implementation is not happening in 2023.

Google provided an initial 2-year timeline on the deprecation of the GAID back in February of this year, and if Google manages to stick with that, we’re looking at a full implementation of Privacy Sandbox for Android in early 2024. But if we take delays on the deprecation of the third-party cookie as a sign, it could be later.

And, as we’ve seen with SKAdNetwork, arrival of the tech doesn’t mean instant adoption.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done.

For starters, be in the know and be aware of what’s happening. Check out resources like …

But it’s not just about Android. You also need to prep on iOS.

That might sound insane, but Android has been filling a gap for iOS marketers for some time now: creative optimization, targeting insight, campaign optimization, channel selection. When marketers couldn’t get data from iOS, some turned to an Android-first strategy with which they inform — though not clone — their iOS strategy.

That is eventually going away, and that has implications.

If you’re not good at SKAdNetwork yet, it is fast becoming a competitive imperative to figure it out. And with SKAN 4 now here and slowly working its way through the complexities of the supply, demand, and exchange components of the mobile adtech ecosystem, there’s never been a more important time to buckle down and make it happen. SKAN can be predictive, it can enable optimization, and it can drive profitable growth, but you need the right technology to model missing data to enable it.

(You are not alone here: Singular can help.)

Ultimately, what you’re doing is preparing for a future without device identifiers. And that requires a different approach.

Now is a good time to begin your hybrid measurement journey

We’ve said that hybrid measurement is the future of marketing measurement. 

In a nutshell, it’s a simple recognition that due to SKAdNetwork, Privacy Sandbox for Android, GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act, deprecation of the third-party cookie and more, there are fewer tracking-based attribution signals to power marketing measurement. Without them, we have to use platform technologies like SKAdNetwork and Privacy Sandbox for Android (and for web).

But since these technologies drive privacy via strategic data obfuscation or censorship, marketers have to bolster platform-derived signals with additional data: spend, delivery, privacy-safe granular data, revenue, first-party data, and more. In addition, marketers need to add methodologies to the last-click attribution models that have largely driven mobile marketing spend — and much non-mobile digital spend as well — over the past decade.

That’s MMM and others, potentially.

Now is a good time to open Pandora’s box and see inside. The view, I think, is simultaneously daunting and reassuring. Daunting because change is hard, and because we’re going to be replacing perceived certainty with known fuzziness. Reassuring because life (and work, and optimization, and measurement, and growth) will go on, truthiness will supplant supposed “truth” in marketing measurement, and we’ll ultimately get better global measurement than a last-click, last-touch winner-takes-all measurement methodology.

We literally know last-click doesn’t make a ton of sense, but we’ve used it for lack of anything better.

Now, there’s the opportunity for better.

And, conveniently or inconveniently, the necessity as well.

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