What is Google’s FLoC and How Will it Impact Digital Marketing?
The way that consumer data are accumulated, utilized, and regulated has transformed significantly over the past decade. Third-party tracking tools such as web cookies have opened the gates for an enormous increase in the complexity of advertisement personalization and audience targeting, but they have also encouraged occasional privacy violations.
The increase in digital adoption over the past couple of years has created both an opportunity for the experts doing web development in Toronto to improve their consumer engagement and a responsibility to keep consumer data safe. These insightful data, such as location tracking and other kinds of personally identifiable information, are immensely valuable to companies. Many organizations, for example, use data to better understand the consumer’s pain points and unmet needs. It has also helped businesses in developing new impactful products and services, as well as to significantly personalize advertising and marketing.
Why the Shift to Digital Privacy is a Concern for Enterprises?
For most businesses, getting their online security and privacy right starts with revamping and remodeling their digital marketing strategies. It is a well-known fact that businesses both large and small, leverage third-party tools and software to generate, share, store, or dispose of consumer data. Leading brands have already implemented this as a part of their broader business assessment of online security and privacy across people, processes, and technology.
Therefore, the shift to digital privacy is expected to have profound implications for businesses as well as digital marketers employed by these leading companies. These agencies may no longer be able to rely on website cookies to identify customer demands or boost the effectiveness of customer outreach. Also, finding an alternative strategy could be a challenge for these enterprises. In order to gain access to first-party data, companies might even have to allocate more budget on sales and marketing for them to generate the same returns as now.
What is Google FLoC?
Google’s recent announcement is not only about technical fixes or workarounds. Instead, this is a strong, major improvement in digital privacy that may be the key to a sustainable, effective data strategy.
Google currently leverages third-party cookies and other website plugins to make more-relevant ads that adhere to customer demands. But with the recent announcement, the search engine giant will be eliminating that in favor of a new approach called Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC.
As mentioned earlier, cookies currently accumulate and store information from a website or your online browser as you interact on the internet. Even though they are the technical reinforcements that helped businesses make millions in revenue and allowed customers to find just what they needed, these unseen elements are obliterating our digital privacy.
With FLoC, rather than individual cookies being aggregated at the personal level and transferred from sites to third-party platforms, a customer’s browsing data would remain within each individual browser only.
The FLoC system would then allocate unique browsers, mainly chrome, to larger cohorts of tens of thousands of audiences based upon that browsing data. In simple words, we can say that Google will flock all the users into groups, or cohorts, based on their common interests. From there, the Chrome browser will track sites the users visited and other information, but this data will remain in the users’ devices. Only the data gathered about the flock (FloC) will be shared for advertising.
How Will Google’s FLoC Affect Digital Marketing?
There is no doubt that FLoC will make third-party cookies and their affiliated website user tracking features obsolete. So, what will online audience targeting for advertisers look like? For digital marketers, finding audience interests will be quite a challenge but according to reports, they can still leverage their own technology to assemble seed lists of the most essential FLoC IDs, which are then utilized to determine interest groups, to their business.
All this might seem confusing at the moment but with more updates from Google in the coming weeks, digital marketing agencies will be able to get a clear picture. Also, it does not mean that there is no hope at all for digital marketers to identify and target their potential audiences. Businesses will still be able to access publisher revenues, targeting, and measurement tools through Google FLoC and other technologies in Google’s open-source Privacy Sandbox. According to Google, these tools will help businesses adopt intensified dedication to online privacy and security while delivering ad results and ramping up website experiences.
Therefore, if your business website is prepared to support Google FLoC, then chances are that your digital marketers can leverage the multiple benefits of its new online advertising and tracking tools.
Will FLoC be as Effective as the Previous Third Party Tools?
Google’s current online advertising and tracking strategies have been alleged to dominate the sales and marketing industry where its Google Ads arm is leading. Digital specialists are concerned that even after all these implementations, Google FLoC’s grouping technique may still be inadequate to thwart hackers from acquiring access to personal user data.
Previously, several experts stated that Google FLoC would not live up to the expectations and that third-party tools will remain prevalent. Most marketers currently agree that FLoC falls short of what most businesses, digital marketers, and online advertisers expect. The most common argument is that it will never be as effective as third-party cookies since it only works on Chrome, leaving out other essential factors such as cross-device, cross-browser, and offline data.
On the other hand, experts also argue that the targeting technique implemented in FLoC would be inefficient because the cohorts or flocks are predetermined and completely generated by Google. Analyzing product or service interest through this method is difficult, making remarketing or retargeting almost impossible. Finally, since personal data is now stored in the user’s device itself, it would absolutely pose substantial security issues owing to the potential of de-anonymization.
This new strategy from Google could be the search engine giant’s initial step to market dominance because even though this technique protects privacy from everyone, it still provides unlimited access to Google. The Google FLoC system would still have access to cohort data and raw user data accumulated in the browser cache. This will certainly give Google the benefit in the digital world if it becomes the norm to substitute third-party targeting strategies.
Cindy Williams is a blogger in Canada. She is working as an outreach coordinator for Web Sharx, a company offering web design in Toronto. She graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.