Publishers Must Remain Vigilant Toward Google's Cookie Substitute

  • by January 27, 2021
Google this week provided an update on its plan to end support for an audience-tracking technology that marketers use to improve their ad targeting on publisher sites. Publishers fret the planned changes to the company's popular Chrome browser will hurt ad revenue.

They must remain vigilant about protecting their interests as long as Google is the dominant gatekeeper of the internet.

The company said its privacy-minded alternative to third-party cookies, the much-derided data files that websites put on browsers to monitor online activities, will give publishers and advertisers many of the same targeting features without a significant loss in performance.
In a simulated test of its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) technology that analyzes browsing on individual devices, "advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising," Google said. The company, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., also is developing a technology that lets marketers define audiences they want to reach without using third-party cookies.

Google's plan to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome has drawn scrutiny from antitrust regulators worldwide. Chrome has a 63% market share on desktop computers worldwide, according to Statcounter. That popularity makes Google very powerful, especially considering the company also operates the most popular search engine and owns the most popular software for buying and selling digital ads.

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority this month said it had started an investigation into Google's plan to phase out of third-party cookies. Last month, Texas and nine other U.S. states filed an antitrust suit against Google that claimed its plan may give the company a competitive advantage in first-party data about consumers.
Publishers are right to be wary of any Google-developed technology that diminishes the value of their advertising inventories any further.
Next story loading loading..