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Navigating the privacy landscape of 2024 like a pro
January 4, 2024
by
Minah Lee

The data landscape in 2024 promises a continued evolution toward a more privacy-centric approach to marketing activities.  Accordingly, advertisers are preparing for upcoming changes, with the most remarkable one in 2024 being the phase-out of Google's third-party cookies.

Predicting future privacy trends with certainty is challenging, yet marketers are actively searching for ways to enhance ad efficiency and improve performance measurement. In this dynamic landscape, the key lies in accurately recognizing and rapidly adapting to changes. Explore anticipated changes for 2024, as revealed by Google and Apple, and equip yourself with effective strategies to navigate forthcoming challenges.

⚠️ Disclaimer: This blog post was last updated on January 2, 2024. Please note that it may contain information that requires revision in accordance with the latest announcements from Google and Apple.

The Privacy Sandbox and Google Chrome’s third-party cookie phase-out

In 2020, Google announced a significant development in online privacy with the introduction of the Privacy Sandbox for the web, specifically in Chrome. This initiative aims to phase out third-party cookies and limit covert tracking, prioritizing the protection of individuals' online privacy. Google’s objective is to provide companies and developers with tools to cultivate thriving digital businesses in an environment that safeguards user privacy.

Building on this commitment, in 2022, Google extended the Privacy Sandbox to Android, unveiling new technology that operates without relying on cross-app identifiers, including the Advertising ID.

The primary mission of the Privacy Sandbox is to foster both the establishment of new privacy standards and the development of innovative technology that ensures the confidentiality of user information. By creating solutions that support essential ecosystem needs without relying on tracking user identifiers, the Privacy Sandbox empowers publishers and developers to offer free content and expand their businesses while preserving user privacy. This dual benefit allows users to enjoy enhanced privacy while sustaining the business of the advertising industry.

The deprecation of third-party cookies and the Advertising ID marks a significant turning point for the advertising industry. To support developers and marketers through this transition, Google is providing various stages and beta programs across the development process. Marking the start of its Privacy Sandbox project, Google disabled third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users globally on January 4th, 2024. 

For more detailed information and updates on the Privacy Sandbox, the Chromium blog regularly features progress updates. Additionally, developer.chrome.com and developer.android.com provide comprehensive insights and updates for the latest developments.

💡 What it means:

- Third-party cookies: A cookie is a small piece of data stored in the browser when a user visits a website. Third-party cookies are stored by a service that operates across multiple sites. They play crucial roles to gather data about a person’s browsing activity and how they respond to ads. Meanwhile, first-party cookies are stored by the website itself.

- The Google Advertising ID(GAID): A unique, user-resettable ID for advertising. GAID plays a key role to identify users on cross-app or device to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the ads.

Google Chrome’s test to block third-party cookies in Q1 2024

Chrome has officially joined the ranks in deprecating third-party cookies. As part of this transition, Chrome introduced an experimental phase, wherein third-party cookies will be deprecated for 1% of Chrome users globally during Q1 2024. This initiative aims to provide developers with an experimental label for independent testing and simulation of third-party cookie deprecation. And starting from Q3 2024, Chrome will progressively reduce support for third-party cookies. This phased approach allows developers ample time to prepare for the impending deprecation in accordance with guidelines provided by Google. During this period, developers and marketers can preview and assess how their website’s functionality will operate without third-party cookies, gaining valuable insights to adapt and optimize it accordingly. This deliberate and gradual process ensures a smoother transition, minimizing disruptions to ad performance and user experience.

Preparing for Google’s deprecation of GAID

The Google Advertising ID (GAID), another crucial component of the Privacy for Android, is also undergoing changes with the adoption of new technology. While Google has not disclosed the precise timing of the transition and its 2024 roadmap, it initiated the first Beta testing phase in February 2023, conducting developer previews and stable API launches throughout the same year.

The impending deprecation of GAID carries significant implications for how mobile ad performance is measured. Marketers currently rely on cross-app or device identifiers, such as the Advertising ID, to assess the impact of their advertising. In contrast to Apple, which provides advertisers with Identity for Advertisers(IDFA) under its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, Google will not provide GAID, regardless of whether data collection is permitted.

However, the end of GAID does not mean measuring mobile marketing performance is impossible. Google compensates by offering additional marketing data through three APIs to support various marketing campaigns. To ensure stable operation, Google maintains collaborations with diverse AdTech companies, Airbridge is actively engaging and communicating with Google as Google's App Attribution Partner (AAP). Stay tuned for Airbridge’s other post regarding Google Privacy Sandbox.

Here are some of the key APIs provided by Google and their supported marketing activities:

Apple’s SKAdNetwork and Privacy Manifest

Following the iOS 14.5 update, Apple implemented the ATT policy, reshaping the landscape of mobile ads. This policy mandates that IDFA consent be obtained in an opt-in manner during app installs. With restrictions on IDFA collection, Apple introduced SKAdNetwork (SKAN) as a new framework for measuring the performance of app marketing campaigns while prioritizing user privacy. In 2022, Apple unveiled SKAN 4.0 with several updates. To stay current with the latest iOS updates for marketers, do not miss catching up on the annual World Developers Conference (WWDC).

At WWDC 2023, Apple introduced the Privacy Manifest and Signatures for Software Development Kits (SDKs) for 2024. These changes mark a continued commitment to enhancing user privacy and security. In response to SKAN and the key privacy updates released thus far, Airbridge has been proactive in providing marketers with convenient features aligned with these developments. Beyond just features, Airbridge is committed to delivering information and updates at the fastest pace to keep marketers well-informed and adaptable in the evolving landscape.

💡What is SKAdNetwork(SKAN)?
SKAdNetwork, or SKAN, is a framework for mobile app install measurement and attribution on iOS 14+. It allows mobile marketers to measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns by providing data on app installs and in-app events while preserving user privacy. Currently, SKAN 4.0 has been released, and Apple continuously updates it for better measurement.

💡Find out more about SKAN in the post below:

- Post-ATT iOS UA Strategies: SKAdNetwork and More
- A comprehensive guide to SKAN install double-counting prevention
- SKAdNetwork 4.0: Major changes app marketers should know
- Exploring the marketing implications of SKAN 4.0

Maximize your SKAN campaigns - avoid double counting and over-reporting

As of 2023, Airbridge’s analysis reveals that only an average of 30% of iOS users worldwide have granted permission for IDFA collection. Reflecting this trend, there is a growing demand for SKAN campaigns, with over 54% of app services among Airbridge users running SKAN campaigns.

However, understanding SKAN can be challenging, especially in comparison to traditional attribution models like Last-touch Attribution (LTA). With that in mind, Airbridge assists marketers by providing detailed explanations of SKAN and offering guidance on setting conversion values. Additionally, Airbridge introduces the "Attribution Overlap" feature, designed to identify any overlap in SKAN attributions. This feature serves a crucial role in calibrating Cost Per Install (CPI) and Cost Per Action (CPA) by incorporating non-overlapping SKAN events into the existing mobile marketing performance. The outcome is a comprehensive view of ad performance, providing marketers with the insights needed to optimize their campaigns effectively.

App Store’s latest privacy updates

During WWDC 2023, Apple unveiled new privacy manifests and signatures for SDKs. In December 2023, Apple further announced privacy updates for App Store submissions. According to the updates, Apple stated that as below:

  • Starting in spring 2024, if your new app or app update submission adds a third-party SDK that is commonly used in apps on the App Store, you’ll need to include the privacy manifest for the SDK.

Privacy Manifests refer to files that outline the privacy practices of the third-party code in an app, in a single standard format. This makes it easier for developers to get an overview of how each SDK they use handles personal information. Additionally, Signatures for SDKs are used to validate that it was signed by the same developer when adopting a new version of a third-party SDK in their app.

As each app incorporating a third-party SDK assumes responsibility for all the code associated with that SDK, this update serves to enhance awareness regarding how third-party SDKs handle data. For more detailed information and updates, Apple’s News and Updates provides additional resources.

Deliver on privacy without compromising on marketing performance

Staying ahead in the market demands a deep understanding of changes and coming up with proactive strategies to address them. In this post, we learned about the privacy trends anticipated in 2024. The next step is to discover and implement ways to accurately measure your marketing performance while safeguarding customer privacy. Here’s how Airbridge can assist you.

  1. Airbridge stands as a reliable partner, committed to delivering cutting-edge technology through continuous collaboration with advertising channels, ensuring marketers are aligned with changes introduced by the Google Privacy Sandbox and SKAN.
  2. Airbridge also provides a convenient conversion value setup for SKAN 3.0 and SKAN 4.0. You can check Android and iOS (including SKAN) data at a glance on Airbridge’s single report to increase visibility into overall marketing performance.
  3. In response to the privacy-first trend, Airbridge actively proposes innovative approaches like Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) to better measure marketing performance.

As the privacy landscape evolves, Airbridge remains dedicated to delivering the fastest and most accurate means of measuring marketing performance. We commit to providing ongoing updates and information at an unparalleled pace.  For marketers seeking solutions to deliver on privacy without compromising on performance, our team of marketing experts at Airbridge is ready to assist. Talk to us to stay at the forefront of the ever-changing marketing and privacy landscape.

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Minah Lee
Product Marketing Part Lead
Minah is Airbridge's product marketing part lead. She creates content, plans various marketing campaigns, and collaborates with the growth of teams, customers, and partners.
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