No more cookies? Changes to Google Ads in 2021
It has long been known that Google wants to give up support for third-party cookies in Chrome, and the day is finally coming. But what other changes will Google introduce in 2021 and beyond?
On May 27, 2021, Google hosted the Marketing Livestream, which highlighted many changes coming to Google Ads in the coming months.
Most of these changes are well known to marketers, such as the end of third-party cookies. The online presentation, which lasted almost an hour and a half, had a lot to take on.
In this post, we’ll take a quick look at the important changes coming to Google Ads and their impact on digital marketers.
Cookies OUT, FLoC IN
The header change is the end of third-party cookies. Third-party cookies will be disabled by 2022 because they have long advertised privacy.
But what about replacing them?
Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC for short, has been introduced as a new way to maintain user anonymity online but allow marketers to target demographics with real interest.
FLoC works by placing individuals under a demographic or cohort, as opposed to storing individual data. According to the theory, the anonymity of a crowd means that a particular user does not have unique identifiers, but that we become part of a collective.
Is FLoC an improvement?
There’s a lot of controversy about moving to FLoC, and many argue that it’s actually more similar or, worse, it gives companies more information about you.
The privacy-focused Brave browser, which already blocks third-party cookies and embedded advertisements, also blocks FLoC, because Brave feels that additional information is being shared without the user’s informed consent. You can read their full press release about FLoC on the Brave website.
In addition, Mozilla Firefox and Safari also do not use FLoC when it is enabled. But Chrome still has the largest market share, with 67% of users opting for the Google browser.
The thing for most is that FLoC introduces new thingsinstead of addressing the current privacy issue.
For example, if you have an account on a website, your FLoC activities will be available to them, which will give this company a better idea of your online habits. A topic referred to as content-to-content exposure.
So has FLoC completely failed from Google?
It seems that the vast majority of technology publications and companies are not entirely enthusiastic about monitoring future changes. From the user’s perspective, it doesn’t look too good.
For digital marketers, it means pretty much doing business as usual. Google Ads will continue to target the demographics and locations you select. Actually, Google counts that the effectiveness of the ads is at least 95% than they have always been. So that’s good news, right?
Google Marketing Livestream 2021 had a lot of interesting statistics. Many of these highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed how many companies are doing business and how many of these changes are here to stay.
Some key issues related to the past year include:
- E-commerce searches increased x3 in the fourth quarter of 2020
- Edge picking increased by 3000% during the pandemic
- “In stock” searches have increased by 800%
- Searches for local businesses have increased by 80% from the previous year
In short, more of us are relying on the Internet to fix the retail than ever before. And perhaps literally we want efficiency in our online events.
Of course, Google has paid attention and announced an interesting new integration of e-commerce and retail.
During 2021, Shopify integration will be implemented on Google Shopping accounts. This means that if a company uses Shopify to sell its goods, shoppers can make purchases here on the Google results page.
Google also adds a Offers section to the Purchases section, making it easier for applicants to find discounts, deals, and more.
In the vulnerable tourism industry, Google is also introducing an optimized experience for hotels, flights and travel experiences.
Hotel and flight booking extensions are already available on Google Ads, and searchers are also adding information on travel safety in the Covid era, such as whether borders are open or what precautions airlines / border agencies may require.
Video and image search results
Another change is that advertisers can include images in their pay-per-click Google Ads payment, giving applicants an extra incentive to click.
And as if that weren’t enough, video action campaigns are being introduced to help advertisers generate more customers on YouTube. While TrueView for YouTube ads have been running for several years, video features are an update with more text space and options for integrating video ads in more places.
With images and videos proven to be effective in getting people’s attention (just look at the growth of Instagram and TikTok), this seems to be one of the good ideas coming from Casa Google next year.
Another new feature that has actually been introduced in beta since the end of 2020 is Performance Max. This provides an easier way for marketers to maximize ad coverage, as multiple ad formats are available from a single campaign.
Performance Max uses smart pricing according to the theory that the platform can identify the best opportunities for marketers throughout its advertising portfolio. So if it looks like a display or video is now a wiser choice, Performance Max will adjust to target those in excess of the search to maximize your advertising budget.
Does it work?
So far, the feedback has generally been positive, although Google is editing some performance data before the final product is released.
Rely on tokens to prevent fraud
Google has addressed the ongoing issue of advertising fraud, although it was not mentioned in Google Marketing Livestream 2021.
For those who don’t know, ad fraud and click fraud are challenges in preventing genuine or invalid clicks from negatively impacting your advertising spend. Factors like robots or malicious human clicks can cost advertisers thousands of dollars a month, and it’s been a long-standing problem that brands feel Google can do more.
So are trust marks the answer?
Either way, trustmarks actually work like third-party cookies, which are exactly the technology that Google is retiring. Trusted websites assign these IDs to users who perform verifiable activity. This can include running captchos or even running a checkout or watching a video.
The jury does not yet know if it will have the desired effect, as it has not yet been revealed. But two experts in the field of advertising fraud are not convinced.
As Dr. Augustine Fou, an independent investigator of advertising fraud, says, “These changes to Google’s tracking methods will not affect advertising fraud. They will certainly not reduce it.
“Even if they try new trustmarks, success depends entirely on the honesty of the trustee.
And Clickan founder and CMO Ilan Missulawin says, “The trustmark initiative doesn’t prevent repeat clicks from business competitors, which is a big part of the click fraud problem we’ve seen.
“While large advertising platforms need to make a wholesale change in the way they manage fraud filtering, I think signs of trust are not as effective as they hope. “
A busy year 2021 for digital marketers
There is plenty to take on board, but no worries. Google will implement the changes throughout 2021, and some of them are not expected to happen until the first half of 2022.
Because beta mode has a lot of new features, advertisers are given the option to choose or play with new features before they are released.
Some plans, such as FLoC and trustmarks, may still see a delay or postponement before they are released. Because of such a major industrial setback, it should not be ruled out that we may still see something else as a solution to be presented.
However, several changes have already been made, such as Performance Max. So it’s definitely time to get used to the new features and changes that will come to Google Ads in 2021.