Search Updates: June 2021

Search Updates: June 2021
Photo by Hack Capital / Unsplash

Google Is Extending Third-Party Cookies and Pausing FLoC

For those of you who have been following the death of third-party cookies on Chrome, you have little to fear (for now). Google just announced that it is extending the ability for advertisers to utilize third-party cookies until late 2023. For those of you who are not in the loop, Google has been promising to get rid of third-party cookies by January 2022, causing issues for advertisers everywhere. Google has positioned this move as a way to improve consumer privacy, but for Marketers, it limits the ability to strategically deploy effective online targeting and attribution, forcing the adaptation of first-party data and reducing potential reach.

Is Google doing this out of the goodness of their heart? Not quite. Google appears to be under threat of antitrust lawsuits and investigations, especially within Europe. The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating Google over the competition-related impact that removing third-party cookies entails. Removing third-party cookies gives Google a larger piece of digital market share, as media vendors and data-brokers reliant on third-party cookies will likely shift a larger presence of media towards Google.

So why 2023? Google is planning on removing cookies as soon as it can fully test the Privacy Sandbox initiative, which is their solution for proceeding forward in a world without third-party cookies. Part of this Privacy Sandbox initiative is an interest-based form of advertising known as the Federated Learning of Cohorts (or FLoC for short). FLoC groups users based on behaviors and interests as a replacement for third-party cookies. Google will be able to use its pool of first-party data to group people and target ads based on contextual information, a user’s previous actions, and their interests. These groupings are based on data collected from thousands of users and are constantly being updated. Many advertisers and privacy advocates are wary of FloC – due to its potential to infringe upon consumer privacy. As such, on July 13th Google is putting FloC on hold, which in turn is extending the timing to fully test the Privacy Sandbox initiative and keeping third-party cookies around for at least another year.

Privacy Sandbox Timeline

As mentioned above, Google needs more time to work on its Privacy Sandbox initiative and is extending it’s timeline for getting rid of third-party cookies. To recap, the Privacy Sandbox is Google’s attempt to make the internet a safer, more private place, while remaining open and accessible.

Starting in late 2022, Google will begin stage one of the Privacy Sandbox. During this stage, publishers and advertisers will have to prepare for the phasing out of third-party Cookies. The stage is expected to last for nine months before Google itself begins said process. That second stage is expected to begin in mid-2023 and will last for three months.

We will continue to provide updates on the Privacy Sandbox as Google announces them. For more details, visit

Local Ad Campaign Updates & More

Local Ad Campaigns are getting several updates later this year, just in time for consumers to start traveling and making in-store purchases again. For those of you who are not familiar with Local Ad Campaigns, they help drive consumers from an advertiser’s digital ads to their client’s storefront. To set up Local Ad Campaigns at least one of two potential requirements need to be met:

  1. Active Location Extensions or Affiliate Location Extensions need to exist within your account
  2. A Google My Business Account needs to be tied back to Google Ads

Auto Suggest ads will allow consumers to find an advertiser’s business when they are searching for a related product. For example, a search for “computer parts” might show an ad for a brick-and-mortar location for Best Buy.

Google also announced Navigational Ads, which show up in Google Maps to users who are on their way to their destination. This new feature will function similar to how ads appear within Waze. For example, if Starbucks is using Navigational Ads and a user is going to be passing by one of their locations that is being promoted, then they might receive an ad for that specific location. This is especially helpful for small businesses who are trying to drive foot traffic to one of their stores.

Similar Places ads will also utilize advertising on Google Maps and will appear whenever a user is searching for a business that happens to already be closed. Google will show an ad for a substitute location in order to aid consumers in their consumer journey.

Lastly, Local Inventory ads can now promote products that are available for in-store and curbside pickup. Curbside pickup is definitely one of the positives that came out of the pandemic, and Google allowing businesses to further capitalize on that part of the consumer purchase journey is a smart move. These local inventory ads exist as part of Google Shopping ads and can be developed via advertisers’ local inventory feeds in merchant center.

Certification Needed for Cryptocurrency Advertisers

Whether or not people want to believe it, cryptocurrency is here to stay. With new certifications rolling out to Google Ads, advertisers of crypto wallets and exchanges (such as Binance, Coinbase, or Kraken), will have to get submit certifications and meet specific requirements to run ads. Advertisers will have a deadline of August 3rd for these updates, otherwise their ads will be removed from Google.

Advertisers will also need to ensure that their clients comply with the following points to be accepted as crypto advertisers.

  1. Be duly registered with:
  2. FinCEN as a Money Services Business and with at least one state as a money transmitter; or
  3. a federal or state-chartered bank entity.
  4. Comply with relevant legal requirements, including any local legal requirements, whether at a state or federal level.
  5. Ensure their ads and landing pages comply with all Google Ads policies

Regardless of having these certifications and requirements completed, ads for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Decentralized Finance (DeFi) trading protocols, or the promotion of specific cryptocurrency and related products are not allowed. For example, the promotion of Ethereum, XRP, or Bitcoin is not allowed. Additionally, Ad destinations that aggregate or compare issuers of cryptocurrencies or related products are not allowed.

So much of the crypto world is new, with coins and wallets being created every day. While Palisades Media Group does not currently service any Cryptocurrency Clients, we will be sure to remain aware of what is going on in this sector as new developments unfold.