Google Ads FLoC – the end of cookie-based and personalized advertising

The end of an era one would almost like to say. Google recently announced in a blog post that in the future they will no longer run ads that can track people across multiple websites. Does this mean the end of the eternal shadows of internet history? Some marketing departments and agencies certainly weren’t too happy to hear this news, because it means the end of personalized advertising as we know it.

But by not evaluating the surfing behavior of its users, Google does not want to become less attractive to its advertising partners – after all, Google’s advertising revenue last year was a whopping 146.92 billion U.S. dollars – they just want to address the changing user behavior and the new focus of it.


“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising.” – David Temkin, Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust at Google


Specifically, this means that Google is not planning to go back to tracking cookies in the future, rather their hopes rest on an alternative technology called FLoC. FLoC stands for “Federated Learning of Cohorts” and is intended to be used to group large groups of people together in clusters and to derive commonalities from the group characteristics. Netflix, for example, applies similar principles to tailor its recommendations for new movies and series to individual users. The focus of the new measure, the search engine giant continues, is therefore no longer the individual, but the group. This is not only a good idea for data protection reasons, but also enables a more effective path to new, cross-person information by means of predictive analytics approaches.

Advertisers can expect, according to current testing, at least 95% effectiveness of personalized ads – and the trend is rising. By the second quarter of 2021, FLoC should also find its way into Google Ads and be available as a sophisticated and privacy-compliant targeting method for personalized advertising.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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