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The Future of Targeting: FLoC and the Latest iOS Update

May 5, 2021

We recently discussed Google embracing FLoC over third-party cookies in a previous blog post. Now, this reality is inching closer and digital advertisers will have to shift their approach to campaign management. 

Similarly, Apple announced that, with the latest iOS update, users can opt out of cross-web tracking on an app-to-app basis. When you first open an app after installing the update, it will allow you to opt in or out of cross-platform tracking. 

Most digital advertisers have relied on these longtime tools like third-party cookies and holistic web tracking to reach target audiences. Now, where does this leave the industry? Fortunately, the ad landscape will not descend into a barren wasteland. 

John, Jay, and Kwasi Discuss FLoC and the iOS Update in-Depth

What Does the FLoC Model Mean for Google Ads?

Third-party cookies collect data on specific users and their behavior across the entire web. This allows advertisers to tailor this individual’s ad experience wherever this person might visit. If you’ve browsed for sports equipment online and then saw ads for new running shoes on your Facebook feed later, that’s an example of third-party cookies at work.

Now, Google will be eliminating third-party cookies from its tracking and replacing this with the Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC model. Instead of tracking data user-by-user, FLoC creates groups based on holistic user behavior on a website.

Is FLoC Better than Third-Party Cookies?

Like any comparison, each side will possess a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. However, there are a few notable advantages FLoC has over third-party cookies:

  • Google can now capture more usable group data
  • This shift results in better group-level targeting at the expense of less usable individual user data

iOS Update 14.5 Introduces App Tracking Transparency

Apple has always placed a priority on safeguarding its customers’ privacy. This commitment extends far enough to where they have refused to unlock passcode-protected phones for FBI investigations. They build their brand on user experience and this latest iOS update is intended to further accomplish their main objective.

Now, iOS update 14.5 will allow users to opt out of cross-app tracking on an app-to-app basis. Now, when an application is opened for the first time after installing the update, the user can select whether or not they wish for it to track their cross-platform data.

This level of transparency brings unprecedented privacy protections to users. However, advertisers that relied on this holistic, cross-app view will have to adapt and rely more heavily on first-party data instead.

What Are Some Major Changes with Tracking Transparency?

Any major shift in the digital advertising world will require some degree of evolution and adaptation. With iOS update 14.5, some major changes advertisers should note include:

  • First-party platform data will dominate
  • Less sophisticated targeting due to limited amounts of cross-platform data available
  • Can no longer attribute conversions to cross-channel behavior

Should Advertisers Worry?

Though some agencies may face initial bumps in the road as they adapt, this should not cause an overall worry. For example, this change will not affect Google Search Ads in any significant way, but it will have a much larger impact on social media platforms in the near-term.

As John, Jay, and Kwasi discussed in the roundtable, many users may also opt into tracking than opt out. Why? People have come to expect targeted ad experiences. A significant majority will still want ads tailored to their interests rather than being served random, irrelevant messages.

Are You Ready to Join the FLoC?

The advertising world shifts frequently, but on occasion, major transformations occur like what we’re seeing with Google implementing FLoC over third-party cookies and iOS tracking transparency.

To help you survive, thrive, and scale during this seismic moment in digital advertising, we want to help you develop a proactive solution to keep delivering winning ad campaigns. If you are interested in learning more, check out our partnership page or schedule a call with us anytime using the calendar below: 

Want to Be Ready for These Big Changes?

At Conduit Digital, we tackle issues like the one you saw above on a daily basis. Our goal is to become the digital performance partner for successful agencies all over the world and be your secret weapon when seismic shifts rock our industry. To learn more about how we can help you scale, schedule a 20-minute call using the calendar below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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