Google won’t be using third party cookies to serve ads; instead, APIs will come into the game where users will be placed in specific groups, where Google will see the data of blended information of users.
Google is expecting that it can establish a new set of technical solutions for various things that cookies are being used for. Hence, it has considered a bunch of new technologies that may be less interfering and annoying than tracking cookies.
Google is planning to stop selling web ads targeted to an individual user’s browsing habits, and the Chrome browser will no longer allow cookies that collect this kind of data. The ad companies that depend on cookies will have to find some other way to target users. In the meantime, Google will still be tracking and targeting users on mobile devices, and it will still be targeting ads to users based on their behaviour on its own platforms, which generate the majority of its revenue and won’t be affected by the change. In other words, while the announcement will have huge implications for the digital ad industry, it apparently won’t for Google itself.
It is not a sudden decision, Google has been planning this change for some time. In August 2019, Google revealed its “Privacy Sandbox” keeping ambition to personalise ads while still preserving user privacy. In January 2020, Google has planned to phase out the third party cookies from Google Chrome by 2022, an initiative that other browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Safari has taken years ago. Finally, Google has planned to replace third party cookies with technology developed through its “Privacy Sandbox”.
These new policies are supposed to make it simple for advertisers to target certain demographics without drilling down to specific users and making sure that the framework a lot of sites use for logins don’t break, and help to provide some level of undisclosed tracking so advertisers can get to know if their ads actually converted into sales.
If it does happen, it will change the manner ad tracking and privacy work on the internet. It could also pave the way for a completely different approach to tracking.
Here comes Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), where Google claims is a “privacy-first” and “interest-based” advertising technology. With FLoC, Google Chrome will still track a user’s browsing habits across the web, and then put the user in numerous audiences, or “cohorts,” based on those behaviours. Advertisers will then be able to target their ads to cohorts, rather than individual users.
For example: Let’s say you would like to visit websites with women’s dresses. Your data here would be merged with other users of such sites, which will then be shared as people who are interested in women’s dresses, and also like other sites and products.
However, users will be able to turn off activity tracking, ad personalization, and remove their data Google has collected. So, Google will still deliver targeted ads to users, but in a more anonymous and less terrifying way.
Google claims that advertisers can get almost the same ROI from FLoC as they would through cookie-based tracking, and plans to make FLOC based cohorts available for testing in Chrome trials later this month.