In the future, advertising should be played out more anonymously and group-related instead of being based on individual interests and user behavior. But is that really more effective and doesn't advertising then automatically become meaningless for customers? This can result in poorer click rates and conversions. Do other forms of advertising possibly have to absorb what online advertising may no longer be able to do with them?

As one of the biggest players in the tracking and advertising business, Google has heralded the end of cookie-related advertising. So far, however, advertisements have worked via personal customer profiles that are created on the basis of third-party cookies. Advertising content can thus be tailored to the user and they can be reached with personal advertising messages.

Digital privacy as a driver

The big search engine giant is taking this path, which can certainly be described as a "flight forward". At the same time, Google is repeatedly criticized for collecting all user-related information as a large data octopus and skimming off the greatest possible profits, for example through personalized advertisements and placements. But at the same time, this practice also brings problems. Users are now very well aware of the power of data and want to decide for themselves who is provided with which personal information. Ad blockers are used by many users.

Digital privacy is paramount and Google is taking this into account by putting the “privacy first” approach first. Customer acceptance and willingness to share data increases when a company like Google collects data transparently and only stores the data that is essential and relevant. Not all information that could be stored in principle is collected. And who is willing to accept that almost all of their behavior on the web can be tracked for relevant advertising?

New rules of the game: interest groups

Advertisements can be placed successfully even without tracking personal customer profiles and customers and their interactions individually. Only the rules of the game for personalized advertising will be changed. Interest groups ensure relevant (if not 1:1 personalized) advertising. And this is at the same time the key to successful advertising: Customers continue to receive product recommendations that match their interests.

Interest groups are not collected on the basis of individual user behavior but with the help of aggregation and pseudonymization. Targeting advertising to so-called interest groups also enables advertising tailored to the user. The group relies on an approach called "Federated Learning of Cohorts", or FLoC for short. The tracking is shifted to the browser - instead of via cookies as before - and converted into fuzzy hash values. Users with similar interests are assigned to a cohort (interest group) and can be addressed anonymously. Advertising networks will make several advertisements available to the browser in the future. The browser then selects the advertisement that matches the respective cohort.

From April, the changed tracking method will be put into practice when Google releases a new version of its Chrome browser, which is now by far the most widely used web browser in the world.

The rules of the game and targeting will change. Interest-based advertising will continue to lead to relevant advertisements being displayed to users in the future. The privacy of users should be better protected. Google itself says in its blog that at least 95 percent of the conversions per dollar spent will continue to be achieved in the future compared to cookie-based advertising.