What We’ve Learned About Google’s Privacy Sandbox

July 13, 2023

At the end of June, I was one of the lucky few who attended a training hosted by Google and AppsFlyer for Privacy Sandbox. More than two years into the adventure that is SKAN, we’re still anxiously awaiting Google’s response to this new privacy-centric mobile marketing world. But with GAID deprecation set for late 2024, we’re learning more every day. So, I thought it was a good time to share some of what I learned. Let’s explore.

Google and AppsFlyer working together on Privacy Sandbox

Privacy Sandbox will be replacing deterministic device ID matching by third parties when Google deprecates GAID. To oversimplify the matter, Privacy Sandbox is Google’s answer to SKAN.

After my training, it was clear to me that Google is committed to building a privacy-forward solution with the help of feedback from the ecosystem to ensure a smooth rollout when the change finally comes. With that in mind, Google partnered with AppsFlyer to do side-by-side testing to ensure Privacy Sandbox doesn’t lose what is good about MMP/GAID attribution. Here are two key takeaways:

  • Attribution, retargeting, and targeting will all happen on the user’s device so that no third party will access individual user data
  • Web-to-app attribution and robust campaign data will be available — that includes campaign, ad set, geo, post-install events, but there will be reasonable privacy thresholds that must be hit for each of these

One thing is clear. Google is taking a community-focused approach to deprecating GAID. When it comes to Privacy Sandbox, the ecosystem is coming together to build a solution together. Or, as it was put during the training, Privacy Sandbox isn’t just a “Google platform solution” but an “industry platform solution.”

Privacy Sandbox solutions

As of the training, Google offered several privacy-centric solutions through Sandbox and will be fine-tuning them with the help of AppsFlyer and other members of the industry.

  1. SDK Runtime
    • Does not work as well as other options and was not covered in-depth in the training
  2. Attribution API
    • Uses last click attribution solution on the device
    • The MMP determines cross-network last click
    • Offers a flexible lookback window controlled by the advertiser and MMP
    • Includes 30 days of LTV measurement after the click
    • Web-to-app is supported
    • Offers a detailed campaign breakdown
  3. Protected Audience API (retargeting)
    • Advertisers (or their MMPs) can add app users to custom audiences 
    • Ad networks can define audiences with AppsFlyer SDK
    • Ad networks can target users based on audiences defined by the advertiser
    • The bidding happens on the device
  4. Topics (targeting)
    • Determined by the user’s app usage
    • Apps can request a list of topics (e.g. people who added shoes to their cart but didn’t check out)
    • Ads can be served on both contextual and cross-app usage
    • End users can control their topics or request to be removed from those topic groups

FeedMob and Privacy Sandbox

AppsFlyer is already working on APIs. As one of their partners, we look forward to learning as we work alongside our joint clients to get familiar with Sandbox and all it has to offer before GAID is deprecated. We have a great opportunity — with ample time to test and compare results, which we didn’t have with SKAN. As things continue to heat up, we want to make sure we welcome this new solution and learn to adapt.

Stay up to date on the latest news in mobile performance marketing, and get exclusive insights from FeedMob, by signing up for our monthly newsletter.

Posted: July 13, 2023

Category: FeedMob News and Updates, Mobile Insights Blog, Mobile Performance Strategies


Vanessa Simmons Ad Operations Team Lead

Stay Updated.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest resources sent to your inbox.