Google’s Android Apple ATT Alternative; Criteo Observes Underwhelming FLoC Trials

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
August 3, 2021
Google Spotted Readying Android's Apple ATT Alternative In the Wild
Criteo Observes FLoC Trials; Not Enough Data
In-game Advertising on the Rise
Around the Water Cooler
Is Google Readying Their Own Version of Apple’s ATT?
It appears that Google is readying their own version of Apple's ATT, but looks can be deceiving.

A thorough Twitter thread from Eric Seufert, analyst, Mobile Dev Memo, explained how Google Play's privacy page was updated, requiring that Android app developers “disclose data collected in apps and provide a consent mechanism before data is collected.” It also states, "Your in-app disclosure must accompany and immediately precede a request for user consent, and where available, an associated runtime permission. You may not access or collect any personal or sensitive data until the user consents."

Rumblings of Big G's plans to limit data collection and cross-app tracking were first heard back in February. This scheme is in line with the tech company's goal of deprecating third-party cookies by 2023 in the Chrome browser.

With advertisers and publishers still struggling with how to navigate Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) in iOS, learning that Google is hatching a similar plan for Android will surely send developers scrambling to create workarounds.
Why This Matters
While it’s still too soon to determine exactly how ATT is impacting advertisers and publishers overall, it hasn’t made as crushing a blow as expected.

In fact, many advertisers increased ad spending on Android, and, according to Business Insider, “the big trends favoring digital ad platforms — the rise in digital content consumption and spending on e-commerce — were so buoyant that they cushioned any early underlying turbulence.” This is a wait-and-see game, and we’re still in the early stages.

However, this doesn't take into consideration any potential Android-esque ATT feature coming into play. And not all publishers are named Google and Facebook with troves of first-party data. So, how can this not have an impact on smaller pubs?

Wasn't Apple's ATT supposed to knock the wind out of Facebook?
Speaking of Facebook, they’re thriving but preparing investors for a dip in profits — roughly 7% — due to ATT. But the tech giant is so big that this revenue dip is only a drop in a bucket. Facebook is like the Teflon Don: nothing sticks.

In a separate Twitter thread, Seufert breaks down the companies that tried to take down Facebook — like the FTC, Apple’s privacy shaekups, even advertiser boycotts, to no avail. Facebook is unaffected, and, in Seufert’s opinion, will become the most important company in people’s lives.
Criteo Observed Floc Origin Trials; Not Enough Data To Properly Analyze
Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen and other times there aren't enough ingredients to complete a recipe. Criteo observed FLoC origin trials for more than a month and discovered that the sample size was much too small to make a proper analysis. We’re talking 0.02% of Chrome users.
Why This Matters
It’s hard to prepare for the future when a trial run includes too little traffic and not enough visitors.

Besides, everyone is talking and concerned about FLoC but FLEDGE is a big part of all this too and it has issues as well. An engineer at Microsoft brought up an issue where “someone can craft code on webpages to use FLEDGE to track people across different websites.” That is a significant hole in the Sandbox bucket and goes against the entire purpose of FLEDGE.

“A new and claimed privacy-friendly solution should not be introduced while being aware of such a design issue,” said Dr. Lukasz Olejnik, an independent privacy researcher and consultant. “In this sense, it's a show-stopper, but one that is hopefully possible to duly address in time.”

And with all of the FLoC blocking going on, can we have any clear indication of how viable the Privacy Sandbox will be as a replacement to the cookie? And how private is the privacy sandbox anyway?

Google maintains that in its own testing FLoC is 95% as effective as cookies, but companies were unable to replicate a proper analysis themselves. So how do we know? There needs to be more transparency and a leakproof Sandbox before an official launch.
The Rise of In-game Advertising
Product placement isn’t new; it’s on TV, online, in video games. But in-game advertising via programmatic has joined the party with numerous companies ready to entertain young eyeballs who don’t watch TV much, if at all.

In-game ad platform, Anzu, partnered with OpenX to bring programmatic, in-game advertising to brands across mobile, PC, and console platforms. Simulmedia created its own video-game ad platform — PlayerWON — and has signed 25 advertisers, including Dave & Buster’s, to a pilot program.
Why This Matters
If there’s any time for ad tech companies to level up their in-game capabilities, it’s right now. Gaming has always been popular, but demand for it exploded in 2020, when everyone was stuck at home during lockdowns. Current gamers upped their game; newbies flocked to an entertaining distraction. Just as people’s behaviors changed, so must the way advertisers reach us.

“Unlike social video ads, whose success can be measured through view count, shares and engagement, the only metric that matters for in-game advertisements is return of investment,” said Digday. “And to convince gamers to interact with products in real life, advertisers must first get them to try them out in-game. Last year, for example, ‘Fortnite’s’ new Marvel Knockout game mode gave players an opportunity to interact with an outside product —Marvel IP — through the familiar framework of “Fortnite” gameplay.”

Follow the eyeballs, and right now, they’re in-game.
Around the Water Cooler
Here's what else we've been reading and thinking about...

Who said international subs weren't a thing?
Guardian Media Group's digital subscription revenue is experiencing healthy growth, driven by international revenues, that account for more than 30% of total revenue. At least somebody figured out how to turn a turbulent US election and global pandemic into a positive.

Amazon charged with hefty GDPR violation to the tune of $887 million. Amazon was just hit with the biggest GDPR fine ever issued by Luxembourg National Commission (CNPD) for Data Protection. Amazon plans to appeal the charges, telling ZDNet that there were no data breaches and customer data has not been exposed to any third parties. "The decision relating to how we show customers relevant advertising relies on subjective and untested interpretations of European privacy law, and the proposed fine is entirely out of proportion with even that interpretation," the company added. If there were ever a lesson for pubs to learn about privacy compliance.

Ad industry to CA AG: Stop with the GPC mandate already. The ANA, IAB, 4As, and other groups sent a letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta asking him to withdraw the recent mandate that all companies honor Global Privacy Control. The orgs take issue that the AG didn't open the decision for public comment, as well the suggest that the mandate conflicts with CPRA. With news that the Colorado Privacy Act will require businesses to provide consumers with a one-click, universal opt-out feature, with the AG’s office having oversight for the technical rules for such mechanisms, this could definitely be the trend for any coming state's privacy regs.
Sweet Tweet
The ad tech crowd when I tweet some sense about tech and the bigger picture of marketing.

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