Google scrapping third-party cookies?

Time and again, cookies have been under scrutiny from privacy campaigners for the use of consumer data for marketing purposes. Yet, digital marketers have been thriving on cookies to help track users’ behaviour and interests online, improve user experience and target ads to the right audience. 

In early March, however, Google confirmed third-party cookies will phase out by 2022. The company stated they will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web.” However, isn’t FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) Google’s alternative approach to cookie-based advertising? 

According to Google’s David Temkin – 

“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers to get the performance benefits of digital advertising.“ 

Google’s actions to ban third-party cookies has not gone unnoticed by advertisers and media ecosystems. Even the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has stated that Google’s plan to scrap third-party cookies (which would effectively share less information with advertisers) could have “a significant impact” on the advertising market.

Interesting stats: In 2020, Google Chrome commanded a 66.39% market share worldwide. In January 2021, in the UK, Chrome led the market with a 49.1% share of the market desktop, mobile, tablet and console internet browsers. 

What does this all mean for advertisers? Outside of first-party data arrangement, the sole way of tracking and measuring digital ads across Google Chrome will happen through proposals managed within Google’s Privacy Sandbox (a.k.a FLoC). FLoC’s purpose is to offer businesses and advertisers a new approach to reach people with relevant content and ads by clustering large groups of people with similar interests.” Despite the impressive initial results from FLoC’s testing (at least 95% as effective as individual targeting), this “reassurance” from Google’s Ads team does not sit well with advertisers.

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