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Google Announces Plans To Limit Cross-App Tracking On Android Phones

  • Alyx 

Marketers, here’s your latest reminder that conversion tracking is only going to get harder and harder: Google, following Apple, has announced plans to curtail cross-app tracking on Android phones.

Google’s moves won’t be put into place for two years, and they’re slightly different than Apple’s moves, which were more widely criticized by advertisers (and have been cited as major concerns during earnings calls by giants like Meta, aka Facebook). Where Apple’s move essentially blocks all tracking, Google – a company which makes a significant amount of ad revenue itself – is looking to protect individual privacy while still allowing relevant ad targeting and, additionally, even trying to win advertisers over by promising to reduce ad fraud. Google’s Google’s VP of product management for Android security and privacy stressed this:

“It’s useful to highlight some of the critical capabilities that matter to the ecosystem,” he said. “So tools like [advertising] ID help provide better, more relevant advertising experiences, tackle fraud, and more. And this has helped make possible much of the free content and services that we enjoy today in mobile apps. So it’s vital that we ensure that these capabilities are supported as we build the next generation of mobile technologies.”

Google is still evolving how they do this, so we don’t know how the implementation will look two years from now. But they’ve currently moved away from their original “FLoC” ( Federated Learning of Cohorts) plan to group individuals with common interests to a strategy they’re calling Topics, where your browser remembers the last 300 things you were interested in over the prior three months and serves you ads from three of your recent top five topics.

We’ve written in the past that these changes may lead to walled gardens linking fintech or advertising companies to social media to provide more linear first-party tracking abilities (though these linkups are perhaps less likely under the current US Federal Trade Commission) as well as how to market in a post-cookie world with stronger persona development, consent-based marketing channels and more. If you’d like to learn more about evolving your marketing strategy to be a success in the new digital era, contact us today.