May 7, 2024

Google's Privacy Sandbox Delay: What's next?

Published By
Ross Webster
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Privacy Sandbox 

Google’s decision to delay the roll out of the Privacy Sandbox has been dominating the adtech newswires over the last week or so.  

Their decision was expounded alongside the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) latest quarterly report concerning Google’s proposed changes.

For those that don’t feel up for grinding through the 100 page CMA report, here is a brief synopsis on what we think are the current key issues for publishers.


The delay is not really that significant. The date for the roll out has been pushed back to Q1 2025.  So it is only a 12 week delay.  

The news of the latest delay has been amplified, as it follows multiple delays ever since Google announced Sandbox back in 2021.

However, this delay is not the same. Previous delays have been due to fundamental regulatory issues, whereas Google flagged that this period of early testing was always going to be technically difficult due to the increased market scrutiny on the Sandbox’s functionality.  Feedback from the market has meant that a short delay was prudent.

But let’s be honest, trying to launch the most significant change in the online monetisation infrastructure in the busiest 4th Quarter was always a pretty crazy decision.

The majority of the industry is united that this delay is not meaningful, and that testing Sandbox and other monetisation solutions must continue.  All market participants should be laser focussed on ensuring effective advertising in the cookieless future.

The official ‘Chrome Facilitated Testing’ consisting of 1% of cookieless audience will continue until June 30th.

The ‘stand-still’ review period of 60 to 120 days was due to start in July 2024. This will now be delayed until the end of the year.  Given the timelines, the stand-still will need to start by November 2024.

As the testing progresses, the CMA stills wants to hear from the market, and can be contacted on


Google still plans to roll out Sandbox in a gradual manner, and will provide advance notice on how this will work.  It looks likely that the ramp up will begin in early 2025.

What is agreed upon is that 1% exposure is not adequate to fully test the functionality, which will require a more extensive data sample to replicate actual supply and demand dynamics, and refine models.

It is very likely that Google will have an interim ramp-up phase lasting 3-6 months.


Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)  has raised new concerns about user privacy and the need for consent for Sandbox.  

Although the ICO and Google have not commented publicly, publishers are going to need to remain vigilant concerning the details of which parts of the Sandbox will need consent, and which parts can be used without consent.  Each legal jurisdiction and Data Protection Authority (DPA) will have their own interpretation.

But in the first instance, it will be up to the publisher and vendor legal teams to interrogate and decide the nature of the data processing, and how much user transparency will be required.

The Sandbox FAQ website covers how the Sandbox technology works, and will be a useful reference to guide the decisions.


All parties, including Google, the CMA, the ICO and industry bodies such as IAB TechLab, are all calling for feedback as the Sandbox project progresses.

In particular, Google has been working closely with the IAB TechLab in a working group format to answer specific issues, and industry participants are welcome to join in.

Sandbox represents a watershed in how the whole digital industry functions, so engaging, commenting, preparing and learning are all prerequisites for businesses hoping to thrive in the post-cookie world. 

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