What is a Google Advertising ID? (GAID)

Glossary What is a Google Advertising ID? (GAID)

A Google Advertising ID, also known as an Android ID, Android Device ID, or Android Advertising ID (AAID), is Google’s unique device identifier.

All smartphones and tablets, regardless of operating system, are identified by a unique device ID. It’s an anonymized string of numbers and letters generated for the device upon initial setup. None of the user’s personal information is included in the ID. With consent, an app installed on the device can retrieve the unique device ID.

The Google Advertising ID is a combination of 8 characters followed by a dash, and then three sets of 4 characters. It uses all lowercase letters and numerical digits.

Here is an example of what an advertising ID on Android looks like:

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Note: The GAID is not to be confused with the Google Play ID as this is the package name of an app registered on the Google Play Store, and is not linked to a device.

What is a GAID used for?

Mobile marketers use GAIDs to understand which ads, creatives, and channels are most effective. Ad networks utilize the Google Advertising ID to get an idea of a user’s behaviors and interests. Meanwhile, advertisers use GAIDs to monitor ad engagement and conversions. Advertisers and developers can see views and clicks of ads, as well as when a user subsequently installs an app, makes a purchase, or signs up for a service.

Together, this data allows mobile app marketers to deliver targeted and retargeted ads to potential app users. Creating these personalized ads provides a more relevant experience to users.

However, Android users have the option to opt-out of ad personalization. Following the industry push for increased user permissions and transparency spearheaded by the rollout of iOS 14.5, Google released Android 12 in 2021. Since this update, users who have toggled on Limited Ad Tracking (LAT) will have their GAID zeroed out, preventing advertisers from accessing device-level data.

How do I find my Google Advertising ID?

Finding a GAID is simple.

  1. Open your device’s Settings app or Google settings app (depending on device).
  2. Go to Services.
  3. Select Ads.

The GAID will be listed at the bottom of the screen. Here you can reset your GAID or opt-out of ad personalization.

How will Google Privacy Sandbox (GPS) affect GAIDs?

Now, Google has taken a step further in privacy solutions with the introduction of its Privacy Sandbox on Android (PSA). Privacy Sandbox on Android is currently testing on select Android 13 devices in beta and will roll out futher betas this year. beta rollout stage on Android 13 devices. However, a full shift to PSA and its subsequent reduction in the reliance on the GAID for advertising and attribution is unlikely before the end of 2024.

Now, Adjust is an early tester of Privacy Sandbox on Android. This allows us to collaborate with Google on change around advertising solutions that protect user privacy, and pass on valuable insights to advertisers.

Bottom line—Adjust offers robust mobile attribution and analytics to app developers for  device-level and aggregated campaign data on Android devices, iOS devices, or both. Keep up to date with changes to the mobile privacy landscape with Adjust.

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