Google Responds to Criteo Index Exchange

Google responds to Criteo Index Exchange responds: The Privacy Sandbox saga has resumed with renewed vigor with the publication of the results of the tests by Criteo, a few days before the end of the tests monitored by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on June 30. According to Criteo, Google’s tool has serious limitations: it reduces publishers’ revenues by 60% on average, reinforces the dominance of Google Ad Manager and doubles the loading time of ads on sites. These conclusions were quickly disputed by Google, which questions the validity of the tests carried out.

Google’s arguments

Google emphasizes that the results obtained by a single shopping platform, in this case Criteo, cannot be representative of the entire market. According to a Google spokesperson, it is impossible to predict publisher performance based on the effectiveness of a single demand source, as publishers typically work with multiple sources. Additionally, Google expects performance metrics to evolve once the Privacy Sandbox APIs are adopted more widely and traffic without third-party cookies increases.

Index Exchange’s findings

Unlike Criteo, supply side platform (SSP) Index Exchange tested the Privacy Sandbox with a large sample size of over 100 publishers, thousands of domains, and ten DSPs. The results, released on July 2, show similar but less severe issues: a 28% increase in latency (compared to 100% according to Criteo), a lack of support for major formats like video, and a 33% drop in CPMs compared to third-party cookies. These results underscore that the Privacy Sandbox, in its current state, is not yet ready for widespread adoption.

The limitations of the Privacy Sandbox

Google insists that the Privacy Sandbox is not designed to replace third-party cookies or cross-site identifiers. It aims to protect user privacy while providing solutions for advertisers. However, Criteo and other adtech players point to the challenges of delivering engaging and tailored messages to users without the data provided by third-party cookies. The lack of insight into campaign performance is a major problem for advertisers, making it difficult to adjust and optimize advertising messages.

Recommendations and perspectives

Criteo is proposing several improvements to the Privacy Sandbox, including extending the retargeting window to 90 days (up from 30 days) and improving ad performance measurement capabilities. Without these adjustments, it’s hard to convince advertisers to invest in this tool, especially when revenues are falling by 60%.

One of the key issues Criteo raises is the dominance of Google Ad Manager. According to their testing, 83% of traffic purchased through the Privacy Sandbox goes through Google Ad Manager, compared to 23% with third-party cookies. This dominance is attributed to GAM’s better technical integration with the Privacy Sandbox, which is not the case for most other SSPs who have yet to implement business and technical initiatives to connect to Google’s tool.



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