Google Privacy Sandbox in Android – It’s time to Focus on First-Party Data

Published: November 19, 2022

min read

Apple’s indefinite move to do away with IDFA or Identifier for Advertisers tracking threw a wrench in every marketer’s plan for 2021. Now Google is planning to roll out privacy sandbox in Android and phase out cookies, albeit gradually.

The Google-controlled operating system accounts for approximately 70% of all mobile phones in the world with Google confirming that beta testing of its Privacy Sandbox will begin on Android in early 2023.

While Google has committed to preserving the Google AdID(GAID) for the next two years at least, this announcement invites app developers to a collaborative approach to understand and test privacy-preserving alternatives.

On the other hand, Google has also come under scrutiny for tracking location data despite users opting out of such tracking. It had to pay $391.5 Million as a settlement to 40 states and has also assured greater transparency going forward.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” a spokesperson for Google told TechCrunch in an email.

As part of the settlement, it has ensured to improve its location tracking disclosures and provide flexible user controls to easily turn off location history and delete past data.

All of these recent developments point to one thing – Google is doing all it can to uphold consumer privacy and protect users’ data from covert tracking mechanisms. We are entering a new era of privacy policy enforcement and even tech giants like Google and Meta are not being spared.

Our Point of View

These recent changes announced by Google will significantly limit the ability of brands to track users. As a result, app developers and marketers will need to make changes to focus on first-party data.

Brands should look for opportunities to build direct relationships with customers. These relationships should be supported with a comprehensive first-party measurement solution for the website and app with an appropriate tagging and consent infrastructure. In addition, marketers can also tap into automation, machine learning, and predictive modeling to fill the gaps in their data.

SDK developers should also start testing Google’s privacy sandbox in Android and leverage its suite of alternate solutions for targeting such as Topics, Fledge, and Attribution Reporting. Using these signals marketers can further augment and enrich their first-party data sets for accurate targeting and formulating relevant marketing campaigns.

While there is still plenty of time before Google eliminates cookies, now is the time to embrace privacy-centric strategies. And, yet 51% of marketers still seem to be reliant on third-party audience data and dragging their feet.

Implementing robust first-party data strategies and safe data collection and attribution practices will not be easy and cannot be done overnight.

With the privacy sandbox set to roll out in Android, the d-day for third-party cookies is near us. Google may not further consider delaying cookie deprecation if all goes well and the ad industry is well-prepared to navigate without cookies.

User testing will run throughout the rest of this year and into 2023. By the third quarter of 2023, Google plans to launch the Privacy Sandbox APIs and make the products generally available in Chrome. Until then marketers have plenty of time to prepare, test, learn and adapt before it’s too late.


Bill Walker

Bill is a marketing strategist who believes in the power of storytelling. He's known for his creativity, wit, and ability to connect with audiences across all channels. When he's not crafting marketing campaigns, you can find him hiking in the mountains or reading a good book.


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