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Cracking The Audience Addressability Code Through Google’s Privacy Sandbox

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By Leah Deitch, Associate Director, Product Marketing
April 25, 2024

Audience addressability has been in the spotlight within the digital advertising industry since Google first announced plans to phase out third-party cookies four years ago. Even with Google’s recent announcement postponing complete deprecation until at least 2025, Google’s move to deprecate third-party cookies on 1% of Chrome users earlier this year affects approximately 30 million people globally.

But signal loss is nothing new. The industry has been experiencing, anticipating and slowly preparing for it since the introduction of GDPR, when data privacy became central to digital advertising strategies. Additionally, other browsers like Firefox and Safari had already been deprecating third-party cookies long before Google – even platforms like Apple’s iOS deprecated device IDs before Google.

Luckily, over the last few years, there have been advancements within the industry to support innovative, opted-in, privacy-safe alternative targeting and identity solutions. PubMatic has been at the forefront of audience addressability innovation by investing in building solutions for the new age of digital advertising, accounting for new targeting and identity solutions in market while also working to understand, test, and help influence Google’s proposed solutions for privacy-safe user tracking and targeting within Chrome.

Historically, we have supported a portfolio approach to addressability to help publishers and ad buyers move beyond the limitations of anonymous targeting solutions like third-party cookies to solve for transparency, efficiency, and scalability. Our suite of addressability solutions, including our fully integrated audience solution Connect, and our ID management solution Identity Hub, helps drive revenue for publishers and high-performing campaigns for advertisers, leveraging first-party data, unique user identifiers and signals, contextual signals and more for advanced audiences and targeting across the web.

A core part of our advancement of our portfolio strategy is through participating in Google’s Privacy Sandbox. We began building support for Protected Audience and Topics APIs in 2023 and have been working diligently to evaluate Google’s proposals on their ability to empower addressable and sustainable digital advertising businesses while also protecting user privacy online.

We aim to help publishers and advertisers navigate this new Privacy Sandbox environment, from onboarding through scaled testing, to understanding potential monetization impact today and helping to influence Google’s proposed solution for retargeting consumers within the Chrome browser once third-party cookies are fully deprecated. There are major milestones we are keeping a pulse on – including the CMA testing period due in June and subsequent formalized decisioning around Google’s next steps.

While we prepare our feedback and reporting as part of our early CMA testing contributions, we are working in parallel to identify the top challenges and growing needs of our clients across the buy- and sell-side. Our product and engineering teams are currently evaluating expanded testing opportunities for publishers, DSPs, and buyers to uncover possible benefits of Privacy Sandbox proposals for buyers and sellers that have not yet been fully explored.

Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. Adapting our technology for a more privacy-centric future is paramount as we work to build a vibrant ecosystem around Privacy Sandbox and other addressability solutions that respect consumer preferences. We look forward to sharing our results soon and collaborating with leaders across the buy-side and sell-side. Please get in contact with us to learn more about our full addressability offerings and our testing with Google Privacy Sandbox.