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Exploring the Android Privacy Sandbox: Adjust’s Keynote at MAU 2024

The first week of April saw the return of Mobile Apps Unlocked (MAU) Vegas, one of the highlights of the mobile app industry calendar and a chance for us to return to the MGM Grand to share Adjust’s latest innovations with our clients, partners, and colleagues.

No better place to start than the main stage! We hosted an on-stage fireside keynote with participants from Google Privacy Sandbox, The New Frontier of Measurement: Exploring the Android Privacy Sandbox with Adjust, to dig deep into all things Google Privacy Sandbox. Moderated by Emily Cash, Director of Product Marketing at Adjust, our wonderful panel of speakers featured:

  • Katie Madding, Chief Product Officer, Adjust
  • Jolyn Yao, Group Product Manager for Privacy Sandbox, Google
  • Amit Varia, Director of Product Management for Privacy Sandbox, Google
Adjust's keynote at MAU 2024: Exploring the Android Privacy Sandbox

Privacy Sandbox: Where have we been and where are we going?

The panel kicked things off by diving into the momentum that’s been gathering pace since the announcement of Privacy Sandbox on Android in February 2022. As we know, it’s poised to herald significant changes for user privacy while supporting mobile marketers in gauging the effectiveness of their campaigns. Preparations, testing, and adjustments have been taking place non-stop, with significant milestones reached as we continue to prepare for its rollout.

The colossal efforts over the last two years have been truly collaborative. Google invited everyone across the industry—consumers, marketers, publishers, adtechs, and policymakers—to test and provide feedback, coming together as one to develop better privacy solutions for Android and the wider web.

To the audience's delight (and did we hear some nervous laughter?), Amit Varia, Director of Product Management for Privacy Sandbox at Google, shared that the team continues to work through feedback and is hoping to bring the first set of tools to general availability by the end of this year.

Amit Varia

Director of Product Management for Privacy Sandbox, Google

Adjust has been involved in Privacy Sandbox testing since day one

One of the first MMPs to be involved, Adjust was an early tester of Privacy Sandbox on Android when it was announced back in 2022. We consider collaborating and providing feedback critical as we prepare our clients for success in the Privacy Sandbox era. Adjust continues to work closely with Google Privacy Sandbox to validate how the industry can measure ad campaigns successfully with these new privacy-preserving tools in play. We’re on top of every nuance as we learn more about what’s coming down the tracks.

The cycles of testing undertaken by Adjust and Google Privacy Sandbox, and many others across the industry, involve various parts of the in-app ads ecosystem. By feeding test results back to Android Privacy Sandbox—that in turn directly informs product designs—everyone involved in this collaborative testing is key to its success.

To update us on the challenges and outcomes of this two-year period of testing, Katie Madding, Chief Product Officer at Adjust, provided a couple of insights into progress from an Adjust perspective:

  • Attribution Reporting API: We released a testing environment for the Privacy Sandbox Attribution Reporting API in mid-October last year. Two clients are currently testing the Privacy Sandbox ARA APIs.
    • The purpose of this testing is threefold: to explore receiving and forwarding Sandbox-specific signals; to test the SDK extension built by Adjust; and to test large data volumes.
    • If you’re interested in joining the beta, contact the Adjust team today.
A process flow diagram showing how attribution reporting works

Where does Sandbox testing go from here?

Katie brought us up to speed by sharing some considerations the Adjust team has had to confront in the course of this testing:

  • Volume of data: We have so many data points—we’re trying to find the best way to surface all of these data points for clients.
  • Technical complexity: Privacy Sandbox is complex, for a simple reason: it seeks to provide measurement solutions for a variety of use cases, without the reliance on cross-app identifiers. That is very ambitious.
  • Still work to be done: Privacy Sandbox is not intended to be a direct 1:1 replacement for existing cross-app-based technology. Instead, it is designed to provide foundational elements that support core measurement objectives (like driving in-app event measurement and serving relevant ads), without cross-site identifiers. We’re not at a point yet where advertisers can get the same insights from Privacy Sandbox as they can get from regular measurement. Now is the time for companies to explore how to incorporate these technologies into their holistic offerings, ensuring optimal measurement and relevance for their specific needs.
  • Ad network difficulties: Networks are in the process of integrating with Privacy Sandbox. At this time, the only ad network we have begun testing with is Google Ads. It’s important that other ad networks successfully integrate, because simulation tools and test data won’t be sufficient in order to ensure the infrastructure works as intended. Fortunately, we have gained a lot of insights and are ready to support networks.
  • Focus on reporting: Ease of integration is one thing—what’s coming up next is ease of reporting against certain KPIs. First, we want to get all of the data through and it’s a ton of data—partnering with Google, we’ve had a lot of thoughts on how we can simplify it for clients.

Katie Madding

Chief Product Officer, Adjust

How will Privacy Sandbox change the way publishers measure campaign success?

Before detailing the impacts of Privacy Sandbox on campaign measurement, and with initial industry-wide trepidation in mind, Jolyn Yao, Group Product Manager for Privacy Sandbox at Google, made the important point that measurement will continue to function as a key determiner of campaign direction.

Jolyn Yao

Group Product Manager for Privacy Sandbox, Google

Jolyn reminded us of the flexibility that is inherent in Privacy Sandbox, that its APIs can be leveraged to best fit a business’s unique measurement needs.

At a very high level, the API supports two primary use cases of measurement—reporting and optimization. Advertisers use reporting insights to tweak their buying strategies across publishers and generally understand user behavior, and optimization strategies to fine-tune bidding for specific ad slots.

Details of the two Privacy Sandbox report types - event-level reporting and summary reporting

Two important concepts for marketers to keep in mind are:

  • Data minimization: This sits at the core of any private-by-design technology. Consider what user data is absolutely necessary for your business needs vs. what is just a nice-to-have and what could actually be detrimental. How much of that user data is actually being used for making business-critical decisions? As data accrues, at what point can you make those decisions with high confidence? And could some of that data actually add noise or bias to your analyses?
  • This is not a trade-off: Privacy Sandbox presents new opportunities to expand measurement coverage while protecting user privacy–it’s not a trade-off. One of the first beneficial examples Privacy Sandbox is seeing is with cross-app and -web attribution, taking advantage of being able to ship the Attribution Reporting API (ARA) in both Chrome and Android to provide seamless attribution across app and web. That should provide more consistent and higher quality matches than most in the industry are able to do today.
Adjust's keynote at MAU 2024: Exploring the Android Privacy Sandbox
Adjust's keynote at MAU 2024: Exploring the Android Privacy Sandbox

Key preparation for app marketers

What can app marketers do to set themselves up for success in the Privacy Sandbox era? The keynote closed with some top tips from Katie:

  • Engagement: Engage with Adjust, and the other adtech providers you work with. Ask your providers about their testing roadmaps and understand how you can participate in early testing of the Privacy Sandbox. Now is the time to think more generally about what privacy-focused solutions for attribution measurement and audience management will look like. This is a valuable opportunity for the industry to work together to rethink how publishers can deliver great experiences to their users while supporting their business models, without tracking users across apps. We are still in a phase where we can change things, so the more we figure out at this stage, the better.
  • Integration testing: Get the preliminary setup done to start integration tests with your adtech providers. That way, you can be among the first and best-prepared to start testing the new APIs and integrate concepts like data minimization into your product offering. If you are interested in testing and need industry collaborators, you can self-declare as an Android Privacy Sandbox Public Tester on the Privacy Sandbox Developer site via this form.
  • Test the APIs: If, as an app publisher, you have developed first-party or in-house advertising solutions or services, you are encouraged to review the proposals, assess the impact, test the APIs, and provide feedback.
  • Keep testing and preparations front of mind: Regularly discuss and review device rollout plans and timelines. Plan to commit to small-scale early utility testing on measurement in late 2024.
  • Keep up with Privacy Sandbox developments: Privacy Sandbox is actively working with the ecosystem to understand market feedback to influence designs and roadmaps. You can read more here at

Adjust at MAU: Booth visitors and ball games

Outside of the keynote, there was plenty to keep us busy at MAU Vegas. We’d like to thank everyone who visited our booth on the expo floor, where our barista kept us all caffeinated and chatting. We were delighted to once more use MAU Vegas as an opportunity to engage face-to-face with our clients, partners, and everyone interested in hearing about our innovations in the mobile marketing space.

Adjust's booth at MAU 2024

As the sun set on day two of MAU, we took the opportunity to inject a little friendly competition in the form of HighBall, an exclusive party at Topgolf Las Vegas that we hosted with AppLovin. It was an evening to remember and a welcome opportunity to kick back and network with industry colleagues over some driving and putting.

Adjust's booth at MAU 2024
Adjust attendees at MAU 2024

MAU proved once again to be a high-energy, innovative, and informative event. We were thrilled to be there to connect with so many of our old friends in the industry, and make new ones too. If you attended MAU, thanks for coming, and if you’d like to continue to learn more about how Adjust can transform your app marketing, request a demo—and we’ll see you next year!

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