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News — 23 Jun 2022

Android Privacy
Sandbox Explained

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Why New Android Tracking Limitations are Not so Bad

Google announced new measures to protect the privacy of Android users. The tech giant is determined to build the Privacy Sandbox, which is already being compared with SKAdNetwork Apple launched earlier. Let’s dive into details and explore why Android Privacy Sandbox is not as bad as it may seem.

As users’ concern about online privacy grows, Google takes measures to protect their data online. Previously, the tech giant started to build the solution for the web to phase out third-party cookies and covert tracking. Tracking limitations for Android has become the next logical step to enhance data safety and privacy.

The limitations will include the rejection of cross-app identifiers, including Advertising ID, and the prevention of covert tracking techniques. These measures are likely to affect how mobile advertisers target prospects and track campaign effectiveness.

Meanwhile, over 90% of apps for Android are free, which is possible thanks to mobile advertising. That’s the reason why Google decided to avoid blunt restrictions of current tracking methods advertisers use. Instead, the company will build the Privacy Sandbox on Android. This new solution keeps users’ privacy protected while allowing advertisers to track the data they need.

What adjustments does Google offer for Android Privacy Sandbox?

Google’s suggestions include both restrictive measures and a set of features and innovations to make the advertisers’ life easier. The main proposals are the following.

  • 1
    New targeting options

To provide accurate targeting without violating privacy, Sandbox proposes the Topics API. This feature will send signals about the app categories an Android user prefers. Topics will be selected on the particular device and won’t be transferred to any third party.

Another feature advertisers can adopt is FLEDGE. It implies showing ads based on the audiences defined by app developers. All information is stored locally, which enhances the users’ privacy.

 

  • 2
    Campaign results tracking

Android Privacy Sandbox will help advertisers measure their campaign performance not with Advertising ID as it used to be but with Attribution API. This tracking method allows to exclude cross-party user identifiers and keeps personal data safe.

 

  • 3
    Covert tracking limitations

To exclude covert tracking methodsб such as fingerprinting, Google enables SDK Runtime. This feature keeps the app’s code isolated and protected from the advertising code, limiting third-party access to personal data.

Why is the Android Privacy Sandbox better than SKAdNetwork?

SKAdNetwork and other privacy-protective measures released by Apple created a lot of hustle in 2021. Advertisers and marketing platforms managed to adjust to the changes – for instance, Affise enabled probabilistic attribution and SKAdNetwork integration. Still, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy restricted many tracking opportunities.

Google takes a more flexible and pro-advertising approach with its Android Privacy Sandbox. First of all, the changes won’t be made overnight; the Sandbox development is estimated to take more than two years, which gives advertisers and networks time to prepare. Moreover, Google has declared its willingness to collaborate with advertisers and regulators to build the most suitable solution.

Unlike iOS, Android users won’t get an option to restrict tracking with one click. According to Apple’s ATT rules, apps had to ask users for permission to track their advertising ID, and the majority didn’t give their consent to it. Android Sandbox implies refusing to use advertising ID and building an ecosystem to track and store users’ data without revealing their identity or transferring it to third parties.

What will attribution in Android Privacy Sandbox look like?

To enable accurate tracking and attribution for advertisers and networks, Google plans to integrate the Attribution Reporting API into the Android OS. This service will work as a storage for views, clicks, and conversions – installs, purchases, signups, and others. 

With this data, advertisers will get quite detailed information about their campaign performance. It will be presented in two primary forms: event-level and aggregatable reports.

Event-level reports

These reports will let advertisers attribute specific data to particular clicks or impressions. Thanks to it. It’s possible to break down the data into particular campaigns, creatives, GEOs, and click_ids. Such reports can be especially valuable to measure the top-funnel data in detail.

Aggregatable reports

These reports provide advertisers with higher-fidelity trigger data more quickly and allow them to track the bottom-funnel performance more accurately. The information from these reports can’t be attributed to a specific trigger – installs, signups, etc. – or user. With aggregatable reports, advertisers can measure the campaign revenue or work with more triggers than event-level reports.

Instead of conclusion

Android Privacy Sandbox appears to be a wise way to protect users’ privacy online without hurting mobile advertisers. Google’s system doesn’t simply restrict targeting and tracking opportunities. Still, it offers a robust set of features and services to enable brands and networks to get the data they need to measure their campaigns’ performance. 

Switching to the new rules and services Google offers will require adjustments from advertisers and marketing platforms. To help our customers track all their campaigns and partnerships’ effectiveness, Affise will provide new features and changes to the platform soon. Stay in touch for further details.

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Anna Averianova

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Content Manager

Anna is a Content Marketer with a background in B2B, creative approach, and eagerness for professional improvement. She aspires to produce content that helps achieve business objectives and benefit readers. When she’s not delved into writing another exciting article for you, she’s probably fooling around with her cat.

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