Google has begun testing its alternative to third-party cookies in an aim to improve user privacy in a paradigm shift away from individually personalized ad offerings. At first glance initiatives like these seem ostensibly beneficial for all parties involved. InsightzClub, a tech-based consumer insights start-up, reviewed the implications for brands and marketeers
In January of 2020, Google reinstated their commitment to phase out third-party cookies over a period of two years. Cookies are small data files collected through a browser and stored locally on a user’s device.
From a privacy standpoint, consumers may slightly benefit form a transition to first-party data and grouped ad targeting. Advertisers may however find it more challenging to target users with the same effectiveness, inducing them to collect data in less than ethical methods. It is not uncommon for black markets to blossom as a result of ‘red tape’. Furthermore, businesses could be enabled to target cohorts based on race and other differentiating characteristics that may otherwise be restricted. Companies using Facebook’s solutions that share a similar cohort-level personalized advertising approach have been shown to racially discriminate against consumers.
Procedures for releasing targeted ads will definitely evolve as FLoC is tested. For the moment, marketeers will need to use first-party data to target cohorts or use Google’s solutions. It is now the company’s responsibility to collect data and generate insights, even if Google Ads is the party delivering ads. Additionally, the undeniable ethical responsibility of companies collecting data is not a matter to be taken lightly.
Marketers are scrambling to collect large amounts of data in preparation for the inevitable removal of cookies. There is a clear need for marketeers to become savvier in how they target consumers. One potential solution is to understand their consumers to the best of their ability along with the collection of first-party data. Tech-based market solutions offered by firms like InsightzClub will be imperative in a cookie-less future. For instance, utilising a comprehensive understanding of the consumer journey with other key touchpoints can help marketeers bypass the need to work with Google’s FLoC solution. Combining first-hand insights and data collection, with Google’s FLoC approach seems to be the most ideal solution.
Marketing is a dynamic industry, and once again, professionals need to get with the times to mitigate potential adverse effects of Google removing third-party cookies. Established solutions are currently available for brands to tap into to move forwards. It necessitates strategies built upon a thorough understanding of target consumers and optimizing data to engage said consumers.