Updates to Google audiences

In 2021, Google Ads announced plans to chart a course towards a more privacy-first web. To help advertisers adjust to an online ecosystem without third-party cookies, we have been developing solutions to deliver relevant ads at scale while protecting user privacy.

Please check this page for updates as we continue to make progress.

Latest updates

[June 2023] Continuing to experiment with privacy-preserving signals for Google audiences

The interest-based advertising (IBA) alpha experiment was concluded in early 2023. If you participated in the alpha or want to know more, please contact your Google account representative for more details about the experiment findings.

After the alpha, we moved to the next stage of testing, experimenting with a combination of true Topics API signals, publisher first-party identifiers and contextual information to power Google audiences, instead of third-party cookies.

In our most recent IBA experiment, we learned that interest-based audience solutions with privacy-preserving signals showed promise compared to third-party cookies. The experiment showed that when using IBA solutions with privacy-preserving signals on the Display Network, Google display ads advertiser spending on IBA – as a proxy for scale reached – decreased by 2%–7% compared to third-party cookie-based results. For conversions per dollar, as a proxy for return on investment, the decrease was 1–3%*. Finally, we also observed that click-through rates remained within 90% of the status quo**> And we observed similar performance for Display & Video 360.

The experiment also suggests that AI-powered optimisation solutions can positively impact campaign performance. For example, campaigns using optimised targeting or maximise conversions bid strategies were less impacted by the removal of third-party cookies, indicating that machine learning can play a significant role in driving results.

While advertisers won’t need to adopt the Privacy Sandbox directly, we encourage you to familiarise yourself with our approach to integrating the APIs into our ads platforms to help you reach relevant customers with interest-based ads and remarketing strategies.

*Google internal data, Global, Feb – Mar 2023
**Google internal data, Global, Feb – Mar 2023

[October 2022] Testing durable audience solutions in Google Ads and Display & Video 360

In preparation for a future without third-party cookies and other identifiers, Google Ads and Display Video 360 initiated a second installment of the interest-based advertising (IBA) alpha experiment with a small subset of advertisers this October. The IBA alpha aims to understand the performance of Google audiences and solutions, powered by Google AI, such as optimised targeting without relying on third-party cookies. The initial IBA alpha, launched in October of 2021, was intended to be the first of many iterations as Google Ads and Display Video 360 continue to evolve and incorporate new privacy-preserving technologies.

In this second installment, Google Ads and Display Video 360 evolved the set of privacy-preserving signals used to reflect the latest developments in the market. This includes an update to the simulation of Chrome’s publicly available Topics API. In addition, Google Ads and Display Video 360 incorporated a variety of privacy-preserving signals including geo-based, contextual and new insights powered by Google AI, as well as simulations of Publisher First-Party Identifiers into our audience solutions.

Google audience solutions will continue to evolve alongside ecosystem and technological developments. We’ll continue to provide updates on our efforts to protect the performance of in-market and affinity Google audience segments, as well as optimised targeting on Google Ads and Display & Video 360, while prioritising user privacy.

[Originally posted May 2022; updated June 2023] Preparing site tags for updates to Google audiences

Google Ads and Display & Video 360 began testing Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox APIs in mid-2022. As part of this process, we are testing an addition to the global site tag and Floodlight on a small percentage of traffic to ensure technical readiness. You may see calls to the Topics, Protected Audience and Attribution Reporting APIs from your tags as a result. The percentage of traffic included will increase as more traffic is eligible to support these APIs in Chrome.

This tag addition will not affect any ads and there will be no impact on campaign performance. No action is required by advertisers at this stage.

If websites prefer to opt out of testing, they can do so via the Chrome permission policy. The use of these APIs in our ads products is subject to Google’s EU user consent policy requirements.

[19 November 2021] Early experiments to update Google audiences on Display and Display & Video 360

In October 2021, Google Ads and Display & Video 360 initiated a closed interest-based advertising (IBA) alpha experiment to demonstrate the durability of Google audience segments, specifically in-market and affinity audience segments where third-party cookies are no longer available.

Participants compared campaign performance of existing campaign traffic to a 'future state' traffic arm that simulated an interest-based audience targeting landscape without third-party cookies. This future state landscape included a variety of privacy-forward signals including, but not limited to, geo-based, contextual, AI updates and a replication of relevant Privacy Sandbox APIs made publicly available by Chrome. Future iterations will include new technologies as they become available, such as Publisher Provided IDs and any new versions of Sandbox APIs announced publicly by Chrome.

Google audience solutions will iterate and evolve alongside ecosystem changes and technological developments. We’ll continue to provide updates on our efforts to ensure performance of in-market and affinity Google audience segments on Google Ads and Display & Video 360 while prioritising user privacy.

Was this helpful?

How can we improve it?
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu