Google’s Privacy Sandbox: positive move or more fuel to the Google monopoly?

It has been no secret that the world of digital is shifting to be more privacy conscious. With the inception of Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 and Mozilla’s Enhanced Tracking Protection in 2019, it was not long before Google threw its hat into the ring.

However, in true Google fashion, there would be a slight twist.

Enter the disarmingly named ‘Google Privacy Sandbox’ announcement promising a walled garden solution that allows ad targeting, measurement and fraud prevention to continue as normal, so long as you are within the Chrome ecosystem.

In principle this sounds great. Google produces programming interfaces which allow advertisers to continue to measure and optimize, but people’s privacy is better protected and we are no longer beholden to cookies (that are never quite as accurate as we all wanted them to be anyway).

So ’in principle’ therefore, we agree that this is a good thing and while it will take some getting used to, it could easily be chalked up to just part of ecosystem evolving. That is until you realise that it will leave advertisers in a position where an organisation that receives huge amounts of advertising spend directly but that also controls vast spend across the whole internet is to be the gatekeeper of effectiveness.

If Google is marking its own homework, who ensures this isn’t biased?

Again, we support the move and want to believe that it’s only got the best of intentions at heart. The question is whether this would be better split from Google and run independently.

In the meantime, we are working with clients to prepare alternative ways of measuring advertising because we feel there will always be a place for unbiased data-driven advertising.

Mikey Feilden, Head of Marketing Technology at Threepipe Reply.

Article first appeared in The Drum.