Google Targeted Ads to End Soon--What Does This Mean for User Privacy?

Google Targeted Ads to End Soon in Drastic Privacy Shift--User Data Will No Longer Be Tracked?
Google is now rolling out enormous changes to Google Ads. One of the biggest changes is Google's decision to remove third-party cookies. Photo : David Ramos/Getty Images

While Google had seeded the growth and fruits of the digital ad ecosystem through reliance on targeting, the company is now getting immense pressure coming from regulators revolving around data privacy and antitrust. With that said, Google is expected to stop enabling cross-site targeting and tracking of user data spread across all of its different web-based ad products. This includes ads on YouTube and other Google AdX exchanges.

A recent blogpost was uploaded by Google announcing the end of targeted ads.

Google Ads 2021 Changes: Third-Party Cookies Gone?

Based on the announcement by Google, the important thing to note is that the tech company will be using what they call as "privacy-preserving APIs," which stops individual tracking of user data. While Google will still be doing its obligation to advertisers and publishers, user data will instead be presented collectively together with information of other users with the same interest.

"Our latest tests of FLoC show one way to effectively take third-party cookies out of the advertising equation and instead hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests. Chrome intends to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials with its next release this month, and we expect to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts with advertisers in Google Ads in Q2," David Temkin, Google's Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust, wrote in the announcement.

In connection with effectively removing third-party cookies, Temko emphasized that other technologies used to track individual people as they browse the web is also part of the focus of their initiative.

Put simply, this means that users will no longer be individually tracked. With the improvements in search algorithm, Google will still be able to provide its advertisers and publishers with relevant information while protecting the privacy of its users.

Other Google Changes

 Due to the post being a little beefy, it could be hard for some to understand exactly how it is ending and to what terms it is stopping its collection of information. An article by Digidaily, fortunately, simplifies the lengthy announcement. 

With that said, here are the major points coming with the change aside from the removal of the third-party cookies

  • Targeting changes by Google will start when the platform officially stops recognizing other third-party cookies within the Chrome browser.

  • User-level profiles will no longer be built within the ad system nor is the data going to be used to enable targeting other non-Google sites. This means Google won't support other cookie replacement identifiers like LiveRamp, Trade Desk's Unified ID, or others.

  • Non-Google DSP's can connect with publishers and also allow the publishers to use their data to target along with the Privacy Sandbox measuring methods.

  • Google's ad targeting changes are directly focused on open web. Mobile app ads bought and sold through Google's ad tech won't be affected by this.

  • Advertisers buying through Google can still target ads on other non-Google sites through aggregated data. This can be done using its FLoC method which enables targeting audiences and not individuals.

  • Advertisers can still target within their databases of consumers through other first-party data on Google properties like the Google search results page as well as YouTube.

  • Publishers using Google's ad tech will continue to be able to sell ads targeted coming from first-party data owned by the publisher.

  • When advertisers opt to purchase ads from Google's ad exchange, they will need to use their first-party data or their FLoC cohorts in order to target ads.

  • Google retains targeting across its very own properties like when users search for dog food, they are then given ads related to dog food.

Read Also: How To Make The Most Out Of Your Google Ads

With the change in Google Ad policies, one segment that could have a lot of adjustment to do is the SEO segment. SEO specialists would have a whole lot of new information and structures to learn how to buy better ads and utilize the company's resources in order to be able to hit specific markets that they are targeting. 

The reason for this change, as noted by the blog, is the growing demand for people to not only be able to know more about their privacy but also be able to control it. Google is ultimately removing third-party cookies to ensure a safer data gathering and Google ads.

Related Article: Google Receives Another Complaint: Genius Media Group Files Lawsuit Over Ad Exchange Practices

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