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Google Outlines ‘Privacy Sandbox’ Initiative for Android, the Next Stage of the Data Privacy Shift

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Google Outlines 'Privacy Sandbox' Initiative for Android, the Next Stage of the Data Privacy Shift

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Apple’s ATT update, which now prompts users of iOS apps to opt in or out of data tracking, has caused major disruption in the digital ad space, with Meta alone estimating that the change will cost it some $10 billion this year. And now, we could be set for the next stage of that shift, with Google announcing that it’s actively developing its Privacy Sandbox for Android, which is its equivalent data privacy control for Android users.

As explained by Google:

Today, we’re announcing a multi-year initiative to build the Privacy Sandbox on Android, with the goal of introducing new, more private advertising solutions. Specifically, these solutions will limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers, including advertising ID.”

Google’s also developing similar data privacy controls for the web, but the Android variation will likely have a bigger impact, given the significance of the mobile advertising marketplace, and the use of personalized targeting via apps.

Though Google has said that it’s aiming to work with developers to minimize disruption – while also taking a shot at Apple’s approach:

​​We realize that other platforms have taken a different approach to ads privacy, bluntly restricting existing technologies used by developers and advertisers. We believe that – without first providing a privacy-preserving alternative path – such approaches can be ineffective and lead to worse outcomes for user privacy and developer businesses.

As part of this, Google’s been as open as it can in the development of its Privacy Sandbox initiatives, which most recently saw the introduction of ‘Topics’ as its key audience targeting replacement, rather than cookie-tracking.

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With Topics, your browser determines a handful of topics, like “Fitness” or “Travel & Transportation,” that represent your top interests for that week based on your browsing history. Topics are kept for only three weeks and old topics are deleted. Topics are selected entirely on your device without involving any external servers, including Google servers.”

That concept will also, theoretically at least, carry over to the Android version of the same, which will enable ongoing audience targeting by topic categories, as opposed to more granular, personalized reach. 

In order to ensure that it builds these new tools in partnership with developers, Google has pledged to support its existing ad tools for at least two more years, while it will also provide ‘substantial notice’ ahead of any change.

That is a lot different to Apple’s approach, which basically threatened to launch its ATT update for months, and didn’t tell anyone when, exactly, it would be coming, till basically it went live. Businesses then needed to scramble to mitigate any data losses, which, as in the case of Meta, has led to significant impacts, as it works to build new tools and solutions to counter the change.

Ideally, Google’s approach will allow more time and insight to build alternative solutions, while Topics targeting will, at the least, give ad partners some insight to go on, rather than leaving them in the dark. Google has also pledged to ensure that its new systems don’t give preferential treatment to its own ad products or sites. Which is another criticism that’s been leveled at Apple, and ideally, with longer lead and development time, that will lessen any potential impacts as a result of the enhance privacy shift.

Though there will be impacts. Over 2.5 billion people around the world use Android-powered devices, significantly more than those on iOS, and if Google doesn’t get this change right, it could have a disastrous impact on the digital ads ecosystem, leading to higher costs, and lower campaign performance, across the board.

Which is probably why all brands should be considering their data sources, and how they maintain connection with their audiences, and target future customers – because as these changes come into effect, you will need to update your approach to maximize performance and optimize spend.

There’s some time to go before this becomes a major headache, but it’s worth considering your approach now, and implementing your own data collection and community building efforts to prepare.

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You can read more about the development of Privacy Sandbox for Android here.

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LinkedIn Adds New Features for Company Pages, Including Post Templates and Link Stickers

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LinkedIn has outlined its latest batch of updates for Company Pages, most of which had already been previewed in some capacity, but are now being rolled out on a broader basis.

First off, LinkedIn’s making its new post templates available to all company pages.

LinkedIn post templates

As you can see in these examples, LinkedIn’s post templates, as they sound, provide a range of visual enhancements for your LinkedIn updates, which could help to make them stand out in feeds.

LinkedIn originally launched post templates for individual users last month, but now, it’s making them available for Company Page updates as well.

As per LinkedIn:

Create engaging, actionable LinkedIn content easier than ever with customizable templates, available directly in the LinkedIn app, with no third-party tools required.”

I mean, I don’t know that these types of posts really fit with LinkedIn’s professional approach. But then again, as many have noted, LinkedIn is increasingly becoming more like Facebook anyway, with more personal posts and updates that are less focused on professional aspects.

And that seems to be working – LinkedIn’s parent company Microsoft keeps reporting ‘record levels of engagement’ in the app every quarter, so maybe this is actually a good, valuable addition.

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We’ll see how people feel about it when every other LinkedIn ‘thinkfluencer’ is posting using these templates. You can access post templates in the mobile app by tapping the ‘use template’ option in the post composer menu.

As an addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making its new link stickers available for Company Pages too, which could help to drive more direct response to your updates.

LinkedIn link sticker

On another front, LinkedIn will also now enable all Company Pages to pin comments beneath their brand posts.

LinkedIn Pinned Comments

The rollout for this feature also started last month, with some users seeing the option to pin comments in the app.

That could be a good way to spark more focused engagement, and highlight top fans, while you could also use this to simply boost interactions by pinning the comment with the most engagement at the top of the reply chain.  

As a reminder, LinkedIn Company Pages can also pin an update for similar purpose.

Finally, LinkedIn has also added a new Our featured commitments’ section for Company Pages, where brands will be able to showcase their most important values.

“Increasingly in today’s market, job seekers are evaluating potential employers based on their values. They’re interested in knowing where companies stand on issues that are important to them, such as DEI, work-life balance, sustainability, etc. To provide greater insight and connections, LinkedIn is enabling employers to highlight these commitments on their LinkedIn company page to define their talent brand and values.” 

Brands will be able to include up to five commitments in their featured commitments section, while you’ll also be able to host content that demonstrates the same, all of which will be displayed in a sub-panel in the ‘About’ section of your Page.

These are some potentially handy updates, with the link stickers and pinned comments standing out as likely the most valuable additions for LinkedIn page managers.

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Post templates I’m not as sold on, especially for brands – but then again, there may be ways to use these templates to improve the presentation of your posts, and maybe, that’ll increase overall engagement.

You can read about all of LinkedIn’s latest company page updates here.

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