Some thoughts from our head of Analytics & Insights, Henry Webster, on Google’s latest announcement:
“Google’s claim that it won’t build or tap alternate identifiers for its owned ad products tells me their work on the Privacy Sandbox is coming along well enough that they’ve decided it’s where they’ll place their bet. This is not really surprising given what we know about Google’s Privacy Sandbox and FLoC. Both are cookieless, aggregate solutions and this edifies their relationship in how they work together for targeting and tracking.
Of course, the other side here is how this upends efforts to establish a common industry standard that would overcome the walled garden nature of Google. While it’s true that Google has tremendous pull on the industry, commitments to abolishing the cookie within Chrome have been pushed time and time again. There’s still road to travel on designing replacement solutions, so I’m interpreting this as Google’s opening position in negotiation. I don’t doubt they’re committed to their own solve. What’s up for debate is how well that solve can play with other platforms and solutions. That’s especially true given that Google’s ad exchange is leaving the door open for unique identifiers, and other ad tech companies are still charging ahead with Unified ID 2.0, meaning measurement across competing environments could continue to be extremely messy.
One implication worth noting is that if we end up with piecemeal tracking solutions, then traditional person-level measurement solutions won’t be able to capture enough campaign activity to be worthwhile. Walled garden publishers already pose difficulty to tag-based solutions, but the implications of this are more wide reaching because we’re taking about Chrome and, I’d assume, eventually Android OS (the latter being another potential curveball to watch). Reliance on modeled solutions is an option, but I’m also interested to see if Google plays more in the measurement space to productize Chrome in such a way that it allows for measurement of non-Google media activity. I guarantee other media and measurement partners aren’t thrilled with that prospect.”