Privacy Sandbox for the Web Reaches General Availability


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What is the Privacy Sandbox?
Google introduced the Privacy Sandbox in 2019 with the aim of building a more private web experience.

Essentially, the Privacy Sandbox is a suite of tools/APIs aiming to replace third-party cookies, enabling advertisers to target users and measure campaign effectiveness in a privacy-preserving manner.

Fast forward to 2023, the first APIs for advertisers are now becoming more widely available. This initiative aims to strike a delicate balance between user privacy and effective advertising… Not easy.

What is an API?
In short, an API (Application Programming Interface) is a piece of technology that allows two different systems to talk to each other.

General Availability
The Privacy Sandbox comes with new privacy features that allows users to select Ad topics to view relevant ads. The APIs are now stable and ready for scaled adoption by advertisers. Google aims to make no significant changes to these API interfaces ahead of the deprecation of third-party cookies in late 2024.

How will it affect advertisers?
But what does this mean for advertisers? As we know, the objective is that someday, but not right now, we will see the depreciation of 3rd party cookies and the Privacy Sandbox’s general availability could be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity for advertisers.

Traditional tracking solutions are undergoing a transformation that opens a more ethical, privacy-focused advertising strategy. By using the available APIs now, advertisers have a massive opportunity to get ahead of what is a non-optional shift. This is the chance to gain the first mover advantage and start testing and refinement of cookieless advertising ahead of the phase-out of third-party cookies.

What are your options following the depreciation of the cookie?
What are your options for life after the cookie?

Well, funnily enough cookieless advertising isn’t entirely new and contextual advertising solutions have been around for years, which provide a great alternative.

However, as above, the key here is to not wait until the cookie is gone!

This is the best time to test, learn and implement cookieless advertising strategies.

(Cookie-less strategies)

  • First-Party Data:
    – Data that is directly collected from your audience which can customise the user experience and Ads they are shown.
  • Contextual Advertising:
    – Uses signals instead of cookies to deliver relevant ads, relying more on the content users are actively engaging with.
    – Cookie-free audience solution, targeting end users using keywords and phrases to identify their relevance.
  • Programmatic Channels
    – CTV (Connected TV advertising – advanced tracking options such as location, lifestyle, demographics and search habits)
    – DOOH (Digital Out Of Home – large screen multi-screen takeovers to digital menu boards in fast-casual restaurants)
    – Game (banners, video ads, audio ads, mini-games, etc.)

When will we actually say farewell to Third-Party Cookies?
Google has said they will turn off third-party cookies for 1% of all Chrome users in Q1 of 2024 with a view to fully make the shift at the end of 2024.

Continuing to engage in industry-wide conversations will give a further understanding of how digital advertising will look in a cookieless world as, in reality, no one knows all of the answers yet.

The ball is now in the court of advertisers & software providers to access the APIs, test and adapt to new practices proactively. While third-party cookies are set to become a thing of the past, an exciting new era of more responsible, privacy-focused advertising is on the horizon.

It’s hard to overemphasise that it is so important to get ahead of the changes now, and understand which approaches and solutions work best for you and your brand/product/company.

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