Preparing for a more private internet – How marketers should be getting ready for FLoC

Feb 16, 2021 by
 Preparing for a more private internet – How marketers should be getting ready for FLoC

Privacy has never been more of a hot topic. In a post-GDPR world, where we’re all aware of how valuable our data is and what lengths brands, businesses, and hackers will go to in order to get their hands on it, the internet always needed to change.

Thankfully, Google, who may as well own the keys to the internet, are planning to be on the right side of history as far as our browser cookies are concerned, at least in terms of their own ubiquitous Chrome browser.

As of 2021, Chrome is phasing out support for third-party browser cookies and is dramatically overhauling its digital advertising ecosystem to provide a more private experience for its users. However, as so many advertisers use these cookies as a key component of their campaigns, how are they going to need to adapt their practices to this ‘new normal’?

The new normal for browser security

Of course, the Chrome team have been working behind the scenes for months to improve transparency across the wider industry, in line with modern opinions on the ‘evils’ of consumer tracking.

This is a set of standards they refer to as the “Privacy Sandbox,” which is something they are constantly updating and perfecting. The end goal is to reach a point where advertisers can find the right audiences for their ads without infringing on privacy.

It’s currently testing something called “Federated Learning of Cohorts” (FLoC) which groups together users with similar browsing behaviours, as opposed to identifying individuals. The theory is that FLoC will improve conversions by as much as 95%, but it’s still early days yet and it won’t be opened up for public testing until March. Still, there are a few things all advertisers should be doing right now to ensure they stay ahead of this curve.

Be direct – Don’t rely on external companies to gain closer relationships with your customers – establish direct relationships. This can be done by learning more about your customers organically with loyalty programs, offers, and subscription services. Places where they are willing to share their data with you rather than having it snatched out from beneath them.

This means always being transparent about what your customers are agreeing to and building trust by allowing them to opt-out if they don’t feel comfortable sharing certain information.

Stay connected – Marketers who use direct data smartly can effectively double the value of every ad and being smart with your data means keeping it clean and connected with your internal systems. Consolidate your data and you’ll be amazed at the results, particularly as third-party cookies begin to be phased out of Chrome entirely.

Use tags – The global site tag is something that every marketer should be using. But many are still behind on this.

Adding it to every page will not only put first-party cookies in your site to measure traffic and conversions but it will allow you to integrate new features the moment they are launched. The future of marketing is going to be all about generating a more holistic view of your customers and global site tags are your most powerful weapon in that regard.

Looking at the long term 

Investing in privacy is not something that’s going to pay off immediately. You could comfortably violate the privacy of your users today and generate a tonne of data that could prove meaningless in a few months. Not only that, but you could end up losing the trust of your customers.

This is not the time to be thinking short term. Whether you like it or not, the internet is going to get more private in 2021 and being prepared means investing in relationships and transparency. It might not be the most exciting investment you ever make but it could be the most profound.