Data privacy is a top concern for many stakeholders in the digital age. While consumer interest in the matter is well-known, other groups such as marketers might not be as vocal, even though they are just as affected by any changes. Indeed, Google Chrome’s announcement in early 2020 of plans to scrap third-party cookies in two years – as a way of protecting consumers’ privacy – is a change that affects online marketers.

While much of the advertising technology (ad tech) community expected this move, it is one that will alter the online marketing world – challenging the digital attribution techniques used by advertisers to target users and measure impact. By eliminating third-party cookies, new standards will need to be developed to track digital ads. Google’s solution to this is an initiative called the Privacy Sandbox, which represents a set of standards that protect consumer’s privacy while allowing advertisers to measure their campaigns.

For Razi Salih, a successful businessman with experience of digital marketing and advertising, understanding what the Privacy Sandbox brings is crucial to a smooth transition when cookies are eventually eliminated. Mr Salih has a great understanding of strategic marketing tactics that have helped promote his projects in the right direction.

Privacy Sandbox: What Is It?

The Privacy Sandbox is Google’s way of innovating with consumer privacy as a top priority. While it’s normal to think that advertisers may be negatively affected, it’s not entirely true. While eliminating cookies challenges the norm, there’s still plenty of time before their removal; this will allow the ad tech industry to adapt and evolve.

Think of a privacy sandbox like a sanitation filter that lies between third parties (publishers) and the browser that interacts with users on behalf of the publishers (who could be interested in measuring or advertising). The sandbox controls the flow of information from the browser to the third parties, with the goal being to give users more choices and visibility regarding the data being collected by their browsers and provided to third parties.

Google is working hard to ensure that Chrome maintains its position as the preferred browser on the web. Through the sandbox, the company is doing what other browsers have been doing: restricting the data that advertising technology partners can access, but with little or no control options to consumers. Additionally, Google is also providing a two-way conversation platform that allows consumers to make informed decisions regarding their data.

Two years is a lot of time for the advertising technology industry to catch up, so it’s likely that by the time the Privacy Sandbox is implemented there won’t be a lot of disruption (in the short term, at least). However, publishers will eventually have to operate within a new environment that will require evolved methods of measuring campaigns and targeting consumers. In the long term, some aspects of measurement may be phased out or watered down, but the discussions around pricing and inventory will inevitably change.

New Standards

Industry analysts reckon that it makes sense for Google to think about introducing the sandbox. The concept is not novel as developers and researchers use browser sandboxing to test features, plugins and find potential issues in web applications. Additionally, by making the announcement two years in advance, the company is hoping to receive ideas and contributions from anyone who relies on the web for their business – developers, publishers, advertisers, other browsers and ad tech vendors – to aid the development of a robust solution.

The top priorities Google will hope to address are interest-based advertising and conversion measurement, two aspects that the ad tech industry relies on. Replacing these will be browser APIs (application programming interfaces), which are viewed as integral to the industry’s future.