The announcement was a real earthquake for the world of online advertising. In 2020, Apple announced an iOS update that will make it difficult to track iOS app users for promotional purposes. And this year, this novelty was rolled out by Apple via the iOS 14.5 update.
What did this update consist of? Essentially, starting with iOS 14.5, app developers must first obtain user consent through a dialog box before accessing an IDFA that can display personalized advertising experiences.
And this week, Google is following suit, announcing an update to its advertising identifier policy. This policy change makes it difficult to target ads to Android users, although the changes announced by Google are currently not as drastic as those implemented by Apple on iOS. If users can opt out of tracking, there are no dialog boxes a priori like there is with iOS.
It becomes harder to access the advertising ID on Android
In any case, Google wants to ensure that an Android user who rejects ad targeting cannot be tracked by apps, neither via the official advertising identifier of the operating system nor via alternative identifiers.
“As of late 2021, if a user turns off interest-based advertising or ad personalization, the ad ID will no longer be available. Instead of the identifier, you get a string of zeros, ”says a Google help page for developers.
The company also cautions developers who might be tempted to circumvent this measure: “Applications using a persistent identifier other than the advertising identifier may receive a warning from the publisher’s website or the email address used to register for failure to comply with the rules received the account. If you receive a warning, make sure that any published APKs adhere to the Advertising ID guidelines in the Program’s Developer Policy. If you are using a third-party promotional SDK, contact the SDK manufacturer for a new version that complies with this new policy. “
Note that Google will be rolling out this new policy gradually. Applications that will run on Android 12 later this year are initially affected. Then, in early 2022, all applications that support Google Play will be affected. And to meet the needs of developers, Google also states that it offers alternative solutions “to support critical use cases such as analytics and fraud prevention.”
It should be noted that Google’s old policy already allowed Android users to opt out of ad targeting. However, it seems that this old policy wasn’t effective enough, which led Google to update it.
Android 12: More privacy news
This new earthquake for the world of online advertising is heralded, while Mountain View recently announced a number of measures to better protect user privacy during the Google I / O conference. Below that is a new dashboard that allows you to better manage permissions for apps.
A visual indicator has also been implemented on Android 12 that warns the user when their camera or microphone is in use. Another feature allows users to pass approximate geolocations to apps instead of an exact geolocation if this approximate geolocation is sufficient to provide the functionality (for example, a weather app doesn’t need to know where you are).
And in the Play Store, Google is inspired by Apple’s data protection labels so that users know exactly which data is processed by apps and how this data is handled.