Android Privacy Sandbox

Live: Singular’s integration with Protected Audiences in Privacy Sandbox for Android

By John Koetsier January 22, 2024

Singular’s integration with Protected Audiences in Privacy Sandbox for Android is now live in beta and will be entering real-world testing with multiple partners over the next months. Internal end-to-end testing is complete and operational, and we’re actively working with partners to standardize workflows and data transmission to make everything just work for marketers and ad networks.

The goal, just as we had with SKAdNetwork on the iOS side over the past few years, is that Singular customers will be up and running with as little disruption as possible when Privacy Sandbox becomes fully implemented and GAIDs are scarce or nonexistent.

Refresher: what is Protected Audiences again?

Remember FLEDGE? That’s what Protected Audiences was originally called. While you can get the full rundown on what Protected Audiences is and how it works here, it’s essentially a privacy-safe on-device way of creating groups of people that advertisers can target ads to. 

One thing Google said way back in 2022 was that “adtech platforms will need to prepare to have some parts of their current auction and ad selection logic deployed and executed on the device.”

With GAID being freely available, marketers today can assemble device IDs of their best users, ship them off to ad networks or platforms, and ask for more like that. From the massive device graphs that pretty much every ad network has built, partners can assemble lists of lookalike devices and dynamically target ads to them as they pop up in RTB/programmatic/exchange ad auctions, or outsource that responsibility to an exchange or SSP. 

Alternatively, the big platforms like Meta and Google can find users on their platforms that look and act similar to that collection of GAIDs.

Under Privacy Sandbox, however, audience information will be stored on-device. That means the Privacy Sandbox code running privately on individual devices will essentially take notes about what people do in various apps (Topics API) and use that data for targeting. 

Protected Audiences works in a similar on-device way, but it is for remarketing/retargeting and custom audience use cases. Ad networks will be able to present ads to the Privacy Sandbox code running on-device, indicating what kinds of people or users they’re appropriate for, and Privacy Sandbox will match users to ads based on what audiences a user is part of.

As Google says:

“The Protected Audience API on Android (formerly known as FLEDGE) includes the Custom Audience API and the Ad Selection API. Ad tech platforms and advertisers can use these APIs to serve customized ads based on previous app engagement that limits the sharing of identifiers across apps and limits sharing a user’s app interaction information with third-parties.”

Singular’s implementation lets ad networks do what they do best

On August 16 of last year, Google released the Custom Audiences Delegation, which supports the creation of custom audiences for ad networks or marketers that do not have an SDK present on a device. 

Since then, Singular has been fully integrated with the released endpoints.

What this allows Singular to do is to create custom audiences on behalf of buyers using the new ‘fetchAndJoinCustomAudience’ endpoint, which has multiple checks and failsafes that will log issues and attempt to prevent fraudulent activity.

Singular’s implementation is designed to let MMPs do what they do best and let ad networks do what they do best:

  1. Ad networks create and manage audiences
  2. MMPs handle app events and adding/removing users from audiences
  3. Ad networks handle the ads and bidding processes, as they always have

As mentioned above, however, this primarily happens on-device so that users’ exact identity and activity is protected. Singular won’t have access to the on-device data showing which audiences a user is part of, and neither will an ad network.

Singular’s implementation also lets advertisers do what they do best

Protected Audiences is built right into Singular’s existing Audiences product. That means marketers will be able to segment their users just as they always have and distribute them to ad partners just as they always have.

Of course, the technology will work quite differently on the backend, as will the data transmission (or lack thereof for privacy reasons). But ideally the effect will be the same. The goal: integrate the new Protected Audiences API with our existing product in a way that makes everything seamless for our customers.

In other words, the nice big easy button that Singular CTO promised in a recent Privacy Sandbox webinar with partners including Google, Gameloft, and Tinuiti.

So you want to test Protected Audiences …

If you saw what happened in the first six months of SKAdNetwork, you probably don’t want to see that again. Getting ahead of the curve and testing Privacy Sandbox for Android now while you also have the GAID to grade your own work is a good idea. We’re running tests for both customers who are on the Singular SDK and customers who prefer server-to-serve (S2S) integrations.

If you’d like to be part of the ongoing testing, talk to your Singular account executive about getting on the list.

Ad networks in particular: Privacy Sandbox means significant changes for you. We encourage you to reach out and chat with us about getting ready for the eventual switchover.

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