Google’s popular browser made a big decision that is going to shake up the norm and make it harder for advertisers to track conversions and gain retargeting impressions… maybe. That’s right, Google Chrome is saying goodbye to third-party cookies.

We have a moment to breathe, however, because this big change isn’t planned to go into full effect until 2022. In the meantime, they’re already working on different replacements to track information without sacrificing the privacy of their users.

Privacy Sandbox

To enforce a privacy-enabled experience without destroying the digital ad business, Google Chrome is working through their Privacy Sandbox project with a mission to “Create a thriving web ecosystem that is respectful of users and private by default.”

Having been introduced in 2019, the project has seen progress and 2021 will be a year full of testing. One major aspect of the project that advertisers will want to pay attention to is the Federated Learning of Cohorts API (FLoC).

Birds of a feather FLoC together

Do you know the phrase? “Birds of a feather flock together” mean people with similar interests and behaviors tend to be found in the same groups. This is the inspiration behind FLoC. Instead of tracking one person individually, Google Chrome will group people together and, using on-device machine learning to observe the browsing behavior of the group rather than the individual, they’ll be able to extrapolate data.

Beta testing with advertisers has already begun in March 2021 and with the success of this initiative, third-party cookies will no longer be supported on Google’s exchange platform. And while there remains skepticism, with Google’s confidence that advertisers will see nearly the same conversion results at 95 percent using the FLoC alternative, maybe we don’t need cookies after all… unless they’re with milk.

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