A Google Advertising ID (GAID), also known as an Android ID or Android Advertising ID, is code that allows both developers and marketers to track user behavior, measure campaign performance, and deliver targeted, personalized ads while maintaining user privacy. Taking the form of a device-specific identifier, the GAID allows users to opt out of personalized ads or reset their advertising data at any time.
The GAID was originally introduced as an Android-based equivalent to Apple's Unique Device Identifier, which was later replaced with the Apple Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). When Apple officially announced plans to retire IDFA with the launch of iOS14 in 2022, many believed that Google would soon follow suit.
Those beliefs were validated when, later that year, the company announced a new initiative known as the Privacy Sandbox.
The Privacy Sandbox is effectively a replacement for GAID. On Android, it will introduce alternatives to Google's Advertising ID while also limiting data sharing with third-party publishers. Per Google, the Privacy Sandbox was established with three overarching goals in mind:
On its Privacy Sandbox for Android Page, Google asserts that it intends to replicate much of the core functionality of GAID through tools such as its Attribution Reporting API and Protected Audience API. It also acknowledges that while it does eventually intend to deprecate GAID, it does not plan to make any substantial changes until at least 2024.
At the moment, there is no concrete date for the retirement of the GAID, save for sometime in 2024. Google has made clear that it will provide "substantial notice" ahead of any future changes, ensuring advertisers can adequately prepare for the shift. In the meantime, the company has invited application publishers, application developers, advertising technology firms, and advertisers to collaborate on the development of the Privacy Sandbox.
Users can give feedback on design proposals to the sandbox at developer.android.com.
It's important to note that while the GAID still exists, Google has introduced another new identifier known as AppSetID. This identifier is meant to be used exclusively for fraud detection and analytics, and cannot be used for advertising in any capacity. The AppSetID also automatically resets itself when a publisher's applications are uninstalled from a device, and expires if a user doesn't access a publisher's applications in 13 months.
Users can find their Google Advertising ID by taking the following steps:
For advertisers, there are a few things to know about the current state of GAID: