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Will advertisers FLoC to a new system?

Yesterday I discussed the phasing out of third-party cookies around the web. Obviously Google makes billions of dollars from targeted ads, and many of us use these ads, so how is it going to continue to provide the same service to advertisers without cookies?

The answer is FLoC, or ‘Federated Learning of Cohorts’, which sounds like a higher education college to me. FLoC aims to group users with similar interests, enabling advertisers to target them as a group (‘cohort’) without needing to track information about any individual users.

In other words, web users will be given identification tags that place them in groups of users with a similar browsing history. The algorithm which will do this can be computed locally without a central server to collect and store data. Google says the groups will be large enough that individuals cannot be identified.

As an advertiser, this will probably all be bundled in with Google Ads’ ongoing move to simplifying the way ads are specified by advertisers (for that read: ‘putting them more under Google’s control’). It’ll be interesting to see how the concept develops.

In the meantime, as Google Analytics will continue to be an integral part of tracking a Google Ads campaign, it’s not a bad idea to keep up to date with developments there. For example, do add Google Analytics 4 to your website – it’s a fairly simple job, and however things develop, it’ll mean you’ve got as long a history with the new system as possible.