At the start of 2020, Google announced that they would be phasing out third-party cookies. This is a win for advocates of privacy but not necessarily for advertisers.

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    Google has stated that they don’t intend to develop new ways to track user’s movements, however this isn’t totally true. 72% of people feel that they are always being tracked by advertisers online. Which is why Google has been working on their Privacy Sandbox project. This project is built to work with the broader industry to develop innovations which allow anonymity to users but still deliver results for advertisers.

    Once third-party cookies are phased out, Google intended to track user interests using privacy-preserving APIs. These prevent individual user tracking. Google has been testing Federated Learning of Cohorts technology. This would allow Google to group users based on common interests and hide their individual data. It protects user privacy by using machine learning algorithms to process browsing behaviour on individual devices.

    These cohorts of people will become available for public testing via origin trials in the next release. Testing is then expected to move to Google Ads advertisers in quarter 2. Google has said with this new cohort targeting, advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar that they currently get.

    Overall, advertisers may see a small drop in conversion rates. But it appears as though there will still be the ability for personalised advertising.