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What the FLoC?

Even by ad tech standards, everyone seems to agree that the jargon that came along with Google's Priv
What the FLoC?
By VJ from Blockthrough • Issue #3 • View online
Even by ad tech standards, everyone seems to agree that the jargon that came along with Google’s Privacy Sandbox is unprecedented.
FLoC, SPARROW, PARROT… what does it all mean? In this issue, we present a deep dive on the Privacy Sandbox, including all the APIs, proposals, and responses made in connection to the experimental tech so far. Most importantly, it’s in plain English.
There couldn’t be a better time for publishers to familiarize themselves with the Privacy Sandbox, as Google posted an update claiming that its Federated Learning of Cohorts (‘FLoC’) API “can provide an effective replacement signal for third-party cookies”, while being 95% as effective as cookie-based targeting.
That’s a bold claim indeed. What does the rest of the industry think? Myles Younger, senior director, global data practice, MightyHive, said this in a recent AdExchanger piece:
I’m not surprised that cohorts can perform roughly as well as 1:1 cookie-based approaches. The idea that 1:1 was the holy grail of digital advertising was always a fallacy. It’s great to see Google blowing up that myth. Cohorts are an obvious and practicable “middle ground” and I think Google deserves credit for investing a great deal in demonstrating that.
Others were less convinced. Sheri Bachstein, global head, IBM Watson Advertising and The Weather Company, said:
On the question surrounding efficiency, in order to truly certify Google’s claim about a 95% effectiveness rate, the FLoC API must be tested and have the results reviewed by others in advertising. This will help objectively validate these claims.
Given the momentum Google has built around The Privacy Sandbox, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that even though it may go through several revisions before becoming mainstream… it does provide a glimpse of what the future of advertising may look like. And for that reason alone, it’s worth knowing how it works.
Our other stories this month include:
  • Frequently asked questions about Google’s Open Bidding, i.e., its server-side alternative to header bidding.
  • Ad viewability, more specifically—why it still matters in 2021, how to improve it, and some common mistakes to avoid.
We hope you enjoy this issue. If you have any feedback about this newsletter, just hit reply and send me your thoughts!

Latest articles from our blog
An up-to-date guide to Google's Privacy Sandbox
Open Bidding (EBDA): Frequently asked questions
Why ad viewability matters and how to improve it
What's making news in ad tech
Apple's IDFA changes pit privacy against small business profits
The year ahead for adtech: identity, efficiency and OTT
The two approaches to identity, and what they mean for pubs
What Is FLEDGE?
Two-thirds of global CMOs to boost spend and scale-up tech in 2021
About Blockthrough
Blockthrough is the market leader in adblock revenue recovery and the most popular solution among the top 150 US-comScore websites. We help publishers monetize their adblocked audience using Acceptable Ads, while respecting user choice and experience.
Finalist, AdExchanger’s “Best Early Stage Technology Company”
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VJ from Blockthrough

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