Google to phase out identifiers for ad targeting

Anne Freer | March 9, 2021

Mobile Advertising

Google confirmed that it would not use alternative identifiers to target consumers once it phases out third-party cookies.

In 2020, the company said it would remove support for the cookies to restore trust with users and consumers. According to its research, 72% of people feel that they are being tracked online by advertisers while 81% consider the risks to outweigh the benefits.

As part of its Privacy Sandbox, Google has been joining other tech leaders in replacing third-party cookies with other user-level identifiers.

But now the firm says it won’t be building alternative identifiers.

In a blog post, David Temkin, Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust, at Google, wrote:

“We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.”

The company is working on Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLOC) technologies which are said to be around 95% as effective as cookie-based ads. Chrome will be testing these as of April 2021.

Meanwhile, the company confirmed that it would continue to support first-party relationships on its ad platforms for partners and deepen support for solutions that build on these relationships.

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