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The cookieless bitesize series: What are the Privacy Sandbox APIs? Part 1 – Protected Audience API

With Google planning to phase out third-party cookies in 2024, it has launched the Privacy Sandbox, a series of potential alternative solutions to third-party cookies.

In this blog series, we dive into exactly what the Privacy Sandbox is, answer your questions and find out what you need to do to prepare your marketing for a cookie-free future. Starting with exploring What is the Privacy Sandbox?, we now move on to the Privacy Sandbox APIs:

  • The Protected Audience API
  • The Attribution and Reporting API
  • The Topics API

Along with the other Privacy Sandbox proposals, these APIs will help strengthen user privacy, enable relevant content and ads, reduce cross-site tracking and improve reporting and measurement, all without relying on cookies.

So, what is the Protected Audience API?

The Protected Audience API (PAAPI) is a privacy-safe retargeting solution that enables you to re-engage with recent audiences and prospective customers. This API helps maintain user privacy through the use of anonymised and generalised audience groups (known as interest groups) and through moving ad bidding off the webpage and into a secure, protected browser environment. It also helps prevent cross-site tracking as it can’t be used by third parties to track user browsing behaviour across websites.

Targeting via interest groups in this API means users will receive more relevant ads than through contextual targeting or using first-party data alone. And, as users’ data is stored in their own browsers on their own devices, rather than tracking across sites, ads can be targeted via interests and behaviours, thereby increasing relevancy and increasing advertising ROI while maintaining user privacy.

The Protected Audience API centres around the following programmatic advertising process:

  • Targeting – interest groups are recorded within the user’s own browser.
  • Bidding – ad bidding takes place on the user’s device within their own browser.
  • Creative – ad creative is stored within Google’s data-secure Fenced Frames.
  • Reporting – via the Attribution and Reporting API.

And, while the Protected Audience API has come under fire from the IAB for its inability to support marketing reporting and targeting going forward, there are advantages to Google’s initiative. It should give advertisers greater control over the bidding process, enabling the buyer to control which auctions they take part in, and targeting should improve; buyers will make their own bids, which are then rated by the seller for desirability, meaning better targeting and better-performing ads.

It may not be business as usual for a while as we all wait for the dust to settle and brace for the changes that Google may still make to the cookieless future, but with Crimtan being one of only 45 vendors currently testing in Privacy Sandbox, with a direct line to Google, rest easy that we’re ahead of the curve. Not to mention, we’ve been preparing for this change since 2018.

If you would like to talk to one of our cookieless experts directly, or find out how to adapt to the coming changes, contact one of our experts today.