FLoC vs. Cookies — and Why This MIGHT Matter To Small Businesses🎯

flock of sheep

Goodbye to the cookie — say WHAT!?

News of interest to anyone in digital marketing is that Google announced last year that its Chrome browser is phasing out the third-party cookie over a two year period starting in 2021. In other words, the cookie is crumbling.

You need to know what a web cookie is for this news to matter or make any sense. Don’t worry! You’re not the first small business owner to feel absolutely overwhelmed by tech terms.

Cookies, according to webopedia.com are,“the term given to describe a type of message that is given to a web browser by a web server. The main purpose of a cookie is to identify users and possibly prepare customized Web pages or to save site login information for you.”

Web browsers use cookies to track the user (you) online, such as what websites you visit. Third-party cookies allow digital marketers to track and target your interests. Voila — more sales!

Privacy concerns are the top reason for this change, as they should be. 

But third-party cookies also help marketers personalize and target their ads. Google’s business model relies heavily on data collection with its Chrome browser.

(Hopefully this information is starting to make sense. Vast MONEY is involved. 🙂

Now Google is testing and rolling out new tech to help digital marketers gather data in safer, less invasive ways.

We all know that Google is king of search. If you’re a small business and you rank in the top 10 for some search term related to your business — that’s something to cheer about! #SEOgoals.

Here’s why that strange new term on the block — FLoC — is of such interest to small business owners. Google exists, in part, because of businesses. If you cannot target your market online, they’re in trouble.

Of course, Google is working on creative solutions that support both privacy and marketing.

First of all, Google has launched a Privacy Sandbox initiative — kind of like a hive-mind of creative ideas to work on solving this very complex problem.

FLoC is just one of the solutions that is being tested.

What FLoC is not:  (From Google searches gone awry)…

  • Farm Labor Organization Committee
  • For the Love of Children, A Washington, D.C. based non-profit organization,
  • Or Merriam Webster’s definition of floc: a flocculent mass

What FloC is: 

Questechie.com describes FLoC this way: “FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) is Google’s new approach to deliver and measure ads sent to Chrome users after it rests the already retired third-party cookie.”

When an individual uses Chrome to browse, FLoC utilizes on-device machine learning and groups them into large groups with similar interests called cohorts. Safety in numbers, so to speak, as cohorts then may be targeted by advertisers while better protecting individual privacy. Win-win?

Google claims, according to Questechie.com, “that its simulations demonstrate that cohorts have the capability to drive about 95% of the conversions per dollar spent compared to cookie-based advertising.”

FLoC makes it harder for less-than-stellar advertisers to find out personal information about you through malicious third-party cookies. At the same time, advertisers will have access to large groups of cohorts with similar interests. Time will tell how well this works.

Whatever you do, Google, please leave soft, chewy, double-chunk chocolate chip cookies ALONE!  Some HelloWoofy.com users love them! Our furry friends look forward to the crumbs, too.

To the point — organic traffic matters more than ever to your business. 🎯

Keep working on your organic marketing methods. Grow your email list. Show up on social media regularly. Talk to your clients.

Be the best helpful, friendly resource you can be to your target market.

We promote and support the use of multiple social media platforms at HelloWoofy.com.

Organic traffic is still the number one #smallbusinessadvertising resource. Be sure to stay tuned as we talk more about #smartspeakermarketing in the days ahead, too!

Want to hang out and chat with other small business owners? Please join our ongoing #socialmedia conversations in our Content Masters Facebook group. We look forward to helping you grow your business every step of the journey.


Arjun Rai, Founder and CEO