What Is FLoC, Its Functions And How Does It Affect Our Browsing?


FloC - Federated Learning of Cohorts | Image of Lock and Key

Wait a minute, this is a professional company, why the profanity inference?

Don’t worry, there is no improper inference intended. So what is it?

What is Floc?

FLoC is a pseudonym for Federated Learning of Cohorts and enables ad selection without sharing the browsing behavior of individual users. Essentially, as you surf around the web your browser uses the FLoC algorithm to place you in a group, or “interest cohort”, with similar browser history. From time to time, your browser will reevaluate your cohort without sharing your individual browser data with the browser vendor or anyone else.

Since Google’s announcement regarding starting the migration to FLoC beginning the second quarter of 2021, there has been a lot of speculation as to what this move will mean for marketers and the digital advertising industry. Industry leaders have expressed concerns that if data-driven marketing were to become less effective, it could kill many small businesses that rely on it for survival.

Many experts are predicting that marketers and advertisers will be forced to shift more towards radio, television, and other media channels where they can more directly address a larger audience with fewer data regulators getting in the way.

The dominance of Google has created what can be described as a “cookie monopoly” in the digital advertising industry. Due to the lack of competition, Google has grown complacent regarding innovation and improvements to its data tracking. The company has instead chosen to focus on expanding its advertising empire by increasing the amount of data they collect on consumers. In turn, this has led to the massive accumulation of consumer data that is stored within Google servers owned by Alphabet Inc.

In an article by Amy Bishop, of Search Engine Journal, she asks Ginny Marvin, Google’s Ads Product Liaison, questions to clear the confusion of FLoC and what the future of user targeting will be like.

Amy first asks for an explanation in layman’s terms on the Privacy Sandbox. Ginny Marvin replied;
“The Privacy Sandbox was announced by Chrome in August 2019 (a ‘Sandbox’ is a testing environment). It is an effort to develop a set of standards in collaboration with the open web community to support a new approach to digital advertising that is privacy-centered. This approach doesn’t rely on third-party cookies.

As part of the Privacy Sandbox, there is currently a set of proposed APIs to support various monetization use cases such as interest-based advertising, ads measurement, reporting, and other scenarios.

Federated Learning of Cohorts

The API you’ve likely heard about most is called FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts). It is designed to enable interest group advertising without needing individual user profiles.

Users can be added to interest groups (cohorts) based on their browsing history, but the big difference is that cohorts are built within the browser using on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser. Recent results from tests of FLoC to reach in-market and affinity Google Audiences, for example, have proven comparable to third-party cookie signals.

You can see the work that’s happening collaboratively with the industry on the various API proposals in forums like the W3C.”

First-Party vs Third-Party Cookies

Floc in Remarketing | Clipart of Image and PeopleLet’s look at a little background comparing first-party cookies to third-part cookies to get a basic understanding of where we are headed.

First-party cookies are cookies set by the website that is being visited, for example, a cookie set by ABCnews.com would be a first-party cookie. These cookies are used for session authentication, shopping carts, and other uses within the site or service where they were placed by the host of the website.

Third-party cookies are set by a different domain outside of the website being visited. The most common example of this includes third-party analytics services like Google Analytics and Adobe Omniture.
Because the purpose of FLoC is to exchange the use of third-party cookies, this most current announcement round conversion tracking focuses on view-through conversions and cross-device conversion measurement, each of which is presently reliant on third-party cookies.

In the next few years to come, Google is going to make it more difficult to track purchasers and conversions in the online marketplace. This will drastically affect businesses that currently depend on Google for their conversions because most of these tracking methods will be forced out of use.

Google Analytics is a set of web analytics services offered by Google that track and report website traffic. These services allow users to track, measure, and report website traffic.

FLoC algorithm is designed to keep your personal information more personal. As you surf your favorite sites, those individual sites gather basic information while FLoC assigns you a Cohort ID Click To Tweet

Which Strategies Thrive & Which Are Retiring?

Which Floc Strategies Thrive & Which Are Retiring? | Person Looking at PlanningOne of the fantastic aspects of PPC is that there’s usually something new to study and try. The strategies that labored 10 years in the past retired to the techniques that labored five years in the past and so on.

The changes, amid regulatory conversations and different strikes in the digital world toward greater privacy features, will affect how some advertising gamers attain consumers online. But they should additionally stoke similarly antitrust scrutiny. The Wall Street Journal reports that a main U.S. Justice Division official is “weighing whether Google has used its army of engineers to create a monopoly” within the ad promoting market. In response, Alphabet, Google’s household firm, mentioned it “isn’t going anywhere. Any kind of concern that Google has a monopoly on the market is definitely absurd to me.”

The S-1 means Alphabet as a company will submit its first proposal to go public. This might include the normal financial statements for all of Alphabet’s subsidiaries. The corporate says this includes over 90% of Google’s annual sales, together with extra details about these subsidiaries’ operations, capitalizations, and plans for earnings releases and dividends.

Remarketing’s Future Path

Most of us view remarketing from a cookie-based perspective. User lands on a site, the person is tagged, the user receives an onslaught of nagging/creepy ads. Now that Google is evolving past cookies, first-party information (like emails amassed from promos and form-fills) will ensure that remarketing is seen as treasured rather than annoying.

Brands earn the right for a lengthy conversation by developing enhanced consumer experiences users want to opt into.

FloC: Play In Sandbox Privacy

FloC: Play In Sandbox Privacy | Person Typing on KeyboardWith the introduction of Google’s new Sandbox Privacy initiative, digital advertising is stepping into a new dimension. The FLoC algorithm is designed to keep your personal information more personal. As you surf your favorite sites, those individual sites gather basic information while FLoC assigns you a Cohort ID. You are then added to groups that visit specific types of sites and preserve interest-based advertising.

As a user’s browsing habits change, their cohort changes dropping them from the group or groups they were part of and adding them to the new groups they have started visiting. Depending on how you want to look at it, this could be a good thing or a bad thing. With third part audiences, the users would continue to receive remarketing ads until they outlive the audience duration, benefiting the businesses they were previously following. But with the new cohort, the user moves away from what no longer interests them and starts seeing the new company’s ads.
Sandboxes aren’t what they used to be.

Listen to our CEO’s podcast “The Daily Drive” to stay driven and get great business insights from top business leaders. – Are you ready to scale your agency with a quality white label SEO, white label PPC, or white label social media provider?
If so schedule a meeting here –