News and views to improve the strength and vigor of all your direct response marketing activity.

Plus: 3 key ways to help marketers thrive in a more privacy-protected web

Let’s start with, “What is FLoC?” FLoC stands for Federated Learning of Cohorts — a privacy-preserving API (application programming interface) designed by Google to address targeting users without using third-party cookies.

As privacy concerns and ad blocking become ever more an issue, all marketers need to stay abreast of industry trends. FLoC is one of several proposed technologies being presented as part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative. Its promise is to make users (consumers) more anonymous, while still facilitating the targeting of messages.

While Google has postponed FLoC deployment until 2023, digital marketers should prepare for it now to avoid disruption in the effectiveness of their advertising.

What is a third-party cookie and how does it work?

Third-party cookies are created by a domain other than the one you visit, hence: “third party.” They track users as they move from site to site. The data collected is sent back to that other domain, mainly to support that party’s advertising efforts.

Popular browsers like Safari and Firefox have already blocked third-party cookies, and millions of internet users rely on ad blockers to prevent third-party tracking. However, Google’s Chrome browser — currently the most popular browser — still uses cookie-based targeting.

With privacy concerns becoming more and more prevalent, and companies like Apple rolling out opt-in advertising within iOS 14, Google has decided to focus a bit more on user privacy.

The goal of Google’s FLoC is to make consumers more anonymous, while still allowing advertisers to effectively target their messaging.

Why FLoC is better for user privacy.

In the simplest terms, FLoC assigns an ID to a user based on their browsing history. This is similar to other forms of tracking that tag users with an ID — the difference is that this ID would be random and unique, but fixed across websites.

When users share defining characteristics, they will be grouped together, making a cohort. As that cohort is formed, comprising thousands (even millions) of individuals, it becomes increasingly hard to derive individual behaviors across the web. Google says this is how privacy will be improved, while still being able to see where users travel across the web.

More effective for conversions in Google tests.

Google has stated that in testing FLoC to reach in-market and affinity audiences, advertisers “can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising.” They go on to say that specific results will depend on how strong the clustering algorithms are and what type of audience is trying to be reached.

Experts can’t predict how FLoC will impact targeting and results in the future. But, since user privacy is now such an important issue, it is good to see Google developing alternative technology to put antiquated, cookie-based tracking to rest.

With FLoC, Google says marketers can expect to see at least 95% of conversions per dollar spent compared to cookie-based advertising.

3 key things to focus on to prepare for FLoC — and the iOS 14 update:

At DMW, we are on top of all these privacy changes in digital marketing. And we have already strategized new ways to optimize campaigns that you can implement right now!

  1. First-Party Data – If you’re not capturing first-party customer data, it is more important than ever to start now. Whether by form capture or server-side analytics, start capturing user data as many ways as possible to ensure robust targeting capabilities are at your disposal.

  2. Messaging – If cohort targeting is the future, proper messaging will be essential to capture your target groups’ attention. Begin thinking about how your messaging strategy might change if you are targeting groups of people based on similar behaviors.

  3. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – If you have not updated your analytics to GA4, now is a great time to do it in preparation for FLoC. GA4 is Google’s App + Web property. The update brings new features likely to help analyze behavior-based events.

The bottom line: Change can be a good thing.

When it comes to changes in digital technology, all marketers need to anticipate and adapt. That’s how DMW helps keep campaigns performing at the highest levels — generating awareness, leads, and conversions.

To learn more about FLoC and iOS 14 updates, and how to prepare and bulletproof your own digital marketing, contact DMW today! Together, we will map out a winning future for your online campaigns.