Breaking down Google’s latest privacy news: The future of consumer data privacy

Google’s recent announcement to end individual-based targeting has surprised the digital advertising industry. The key to survival will be leaning into first-party data and building direct relationships with customers.

By Sherry Huang

Last week, Google announced that it would no longer support individual-based tracking and targeting across website properties. An evolution of its announcement last year to remove third-party cookies, this announcement makes clear that even with the deprecation of today’s third-party cookies, Google will not accept any third-party cookie alternatives that track individuals as they browse across the web.

What is Google’s solution?

Instead of individual-based targeting powered by third-party tracking, Google has been testing its interest-based advertising approach, called the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). Similar to pre-cookie methods of context-based advertising, FLoC leverages Google’s own first-party data to build aggregated, anonymized audiences for advertisers to target against.  

With FLoC, advertisers can select affinity cohorts to target user groups, rather than individuals represented by a cookie identifier. According to Google, early tests of FLoC show that “advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising.” 

The past, present, and future is first-party data

Whether it’s Google’s announcement, iOS 14, or GDPR, 2021 will be a pivotal year in raising awareness of the data that companies are collecting on consumers. As new regulations and stricter platform privacy policies are introduced, it will inevitably require advertisers and marketers to significantly rethink the customer experience they provide without relying on third-party data. 

At Twilio Segment, we’ve always known that first-party data is a far superior asset compared to traditional third-party methods. In fact, at our Synapse user conference event in 2019, our CEO Peter Reinhardt explained and even refuted the “privacy-personalization paradox”—the idea that when you’re providing experiences for your customers, they can either be personalized OR they can respect privacy. (Find the full keynote here.

We know from experience that privacy versus personalization is a false dichotomy.  

Futureproof your data strategy now

The key to survival will be leaning into first-party data — data collected directly from a company’s interactions with its customers — and building direct relationships with customers. Just as Google is leveraging its first-party customer data to generate advertising audiences, we’re enabling our customers to harness the power of their own first-party data to deliver differentiated experiences. 

Whether it’s driving advanced analytics at Meredith, increasing retention with fast experimentation at Imperfect Foods, or delivering personalized product recommendations at Norrøna, companies must double down on their first-party data collection to take control of the customer data they manage and achieve personalization at scale without sacrificing privacy. 

Interested in learning more about how to transform your data strategy? Request a demo today to learn more.

The state of personalization 2023

The State of Personalization 2023

Our annual look at how attitudes, preferences, and experiences with personalization have evolved over the past year.

Recommended articles


Want to keep updated on Segment launches, events, and updates?