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In a not-so-surprising move, Google has announced plans to restrict cross-app tracking and introduce other privacy measures on Android devices. Google has framed this announcement as a multi-year effort to be pursued through the Privacy Sandbox on Android. Last year, Apple made a similar update to their devices where they made cross-app tracking an opt-in for users on a per-app basis.

It’s no surprise to anyone that this announcement means bad news for Meta, who attributed a large hit in revenue to this very change from Apple. Back in February, Meta’s shares fell almost 25%, around $121 billion, after the announcement of disappointing revenue figures and the first drop in daily user numbers in the social media giant’s history. Mark Zuckerberg took a personal hit of tens of billions of dollars. Yes, you read that right. Billions with a “B”.

Google has been hit with multiple lawsuits in the EU over privacy concerns, so it appears as they have finally taken some steps to protect user data. Google said that they would limit the sharing of data with third parties and explore technologies that would block covert data collection.

Google’s goal appears to be to develop privacy-safe alternatives for advertisers. This is in preference to the “blunt” approach that they could have taken where they restrict technologies that advertisers already use.

On the user-side, there’s no obvious downside for Google to follow in Apple’s lead. If anything, there are only positives where they are concerned. Users have been opting out of tracking on Apple devices, which means that they appreciate the added level of privacy for their data. Bringing this to Google will only increase the trust that users have towards Google platforms.

Additionally, Google themselves can only benefit from this change as it will make them look more favorable with governments becoming more heavily invested in user privacy.

This change only brings one loser into the equation, and that is Meta. As users of their mobile apps continue to opt-out of cross-app tracking on the iPhone and seem likely soon to be able to do the same on Android, its audiences are surely bound to decline in value if it can only observe behavior and interests within its own ecosystem.

While there is only one for-sure loser, there is one possible loser in all of this, and this is digital marketers. When Apple started making restrictions to cross-app tracking, digital marketers were given the unfortunate task of relaying this information to their clients.

This update all but guaranteed a decline in leads for anyone using Facebook Ads. But as long as marketers kept an open and honest line of communication with clients, they could set realistic expectations for the coming changes.

As digital marketers, we need to be able to adapt and overcome when these changes occur. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us or call us at 305-455-0720.

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