Google This Week: Cookie Alternative FLoC, Threats to Remove Search in Aus & More

by | Jan 29, 2021

Google This Week
12 min read

Google is getting into gear this week with a stream of new updates and features announced for the new year. The big news is they’ve announced FLoC, a cookie alternative and threatened to remove Search in Australia.

There’s also a bunch of new reporting features with new calculation types in Cohort analysis, Core Web Vitals added to Chrome 88 performance recordings, new insights in Google My Business and new video measurement and reporting features in Google Ad Manager.

Google also shared how to prepare for iOS 14 and updated the mobile design and interface for Search.

ICYMI, here’s what happened at Google This Week.

New Calculation Types in the Cohort Technique in Analysis

Two new calculation types are now available in the Cohort technique within the Analysis module in Google Analytics: rolling and cumulative calculations.


Rolling Calculation Types in the Cohort Technique in Analysis


Rolling calculation lets you identify users that return in every period after being included in the cohort and cumulative calculation lets you cumulate the selected metric for users who have returned in any period after being included in the cohort.


per cohort size metrics in the Cohort Technique in Analysis


The per cohort size metrics displays the results relative to the size of each cohort, letting you easily compare the behaviour of cohorts of different sizes.

Google Announces FLoC its Cookie Alternative

Google has announced its alternative to cookies, FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts). Which clusters “large groups of people with similar interests”. This data is gathered in the browser and not stored. It looks at the group and analyses that data, creating a hidden individual “in the crowd”. The data from the wider cohort is then shared which is then used to target ads.

Google said, “FLoC can provide an effective replacement signal for third-party cookies”. It said the “tests of FLoC to reach in-market and affinity Google Audiences show that advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising”.

AR Photorealistic 3D Car Models in Search

In December Google added streamed 3D content with AR features for cars. Now, according to Rajan Patel, VP of Engineering at Google, they’ve added photorealistic 3D models of some cars.

Rajan shared screenshots on Twitter and said, “Today, AR just got a lot more real in Search. We partnered with Porsche, Volvo and FCA to bring to life photorealistic 3D models of their most popular cars. 3 GB+ models streamed to your phone in milliseconds. Android only (for now). Try [porsche panamera] to check it out!”


Chrome 88 Performance Recordings Adds Core Web Vitals

In the developer tools performance recording section in Chrome 88, you can now see Core Web Vitals. In the Core Web Vitals lane, you’ll see information including First Contentful Paint (FCP), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and Layout Shift (LS). After recording your load performance, enable the Web Vitals checkbox in the Performance panel to view.

Chrome 88 Performance Recordings Adds Core Web Vitals

Price Drop Appearance Rich Results Added to Search

Google has updated the product structured data help documentation to add a section for price drop appearance. Google now support displaying price drop rich results on snippets within English in the US on desktop and mobile search.

Google calculates the price drop automatically based on the pricing you send via product schema over time. Google said it’s “based on the running historical average of your product’s pricing.”

Price Drop Appearance Rich Results Added to Search

Updated Mobile Design and Interface for Google Search

Google is rolling out a new design for its mobile search results aimed to make it easier to read for searchers while providing a cleaner and more modern experience, according to Google.

The new look has already begun rolling out and will continue over the coming days. Google has updated fonts, colours and shapes of the mobile experience, including a new look for the knowledge panel and main search results snippets.

Updated Mobile Design and Interface for Google Search


Google Threatens to Remove Search in Australia

In an update to our ever-evolving coverage of the News Media Bargaining Code Google has threatened to remove search in Australia if the government forces the company to pay to link to websites it lists in search results.

“The latest version of the Code requires Google to pay to link to news sites, breaking a fundamental principle of how the web works and setting an untenable precedent for our business, the internet, and the digital economy.”

Mel Silva, Google Australia’s managing director said. We will continue to update you as this story progresses.

Sub-exchanges No Longer Available for Targeting in DV360

All sub-exchanges (with the exception of BidSwitch) will no longer be available for targeting in Display & Video 360, in order to make seller-packaged and curated inventory more discoverable. Any sub-exchanges currently targeted in existing line items won’t be affected by the change.

New Insights in Google My Business

Google My Business appears to be adding new features to the Insights section. The new platform and device breakdown shows you the devices used to find your business in Search or Maps. Colan Nielsen on LocalU first spotted this and said that Google will also be adding directions, bookings and website clicks. Have you noticed any changes yet?

New Insights in Google My Business

Google Sharing How to Prepare for iOS 14

Google has shared information on how app developers can prepare for Apple’s iOS 14 ATT policy updates. With the update requiring developers to ask for permission when they use certain information from other companies’ apps and websites for advertising purposes, even with prior consent, Google is sharing how developers and advertisers can prepare here.

Google Sharing How to Prepare for iOS 14


Submit Disputes Directly from Settlement Report in Buy on Google

You can now dispute transactions directly from the settlement report page of your Google Merchant Center account. Until now, to dispute items in the settlement report, users had to submit a request via the Help Center, requiring ongoing communication. Now you can dispute transactions directly from the settlement report view and see the status of the transaction.

New Video Measurement and Reporting Features in Google Ad Manager

Google is launching a suite of new video-first measurement and reporting tools in Google Ad Manager.

Video True Opportunities Reporting

Video True Opportunities Reporting makes it easy to define the ad duration considered an ad opportunity. You can report on the total number of ad opportunities in a video stream, number of capped opportunities based on max ads per pod settings and number of matched opportunities filled by direct or programmatic demand sources. Video True Opportunities only measure commercial breaks that viewers actually watch, automatically adjusting for user-drop-off.

You can use this report with Ad Break Templates which enable you to use granular advertising rules to create a customised commercial break. You can easily break down Video True Opportunities metrics by custom spots to see how your inventory is performing.

TV Forecasting

Google has also made improvements to TV Forecasting to allow partners to more accurately project available video inventory and account for seasonality complexities. Video True Opportunities metrics have been integrated into TV Forecasting so you can use the new data points to understand future inventory availability. You can also customise and adjust ad requests based on reference points.

Video Content Explorer UI

Google has also made the Video Content Explorer UI more widely available and have added new insights cards. The new audience insights card shows demographic breakdowns of content based on first-party audience data. Additional cards show details into your top devices, impressions and sell-through performance of ads on your content.

Video Content Explorer UI

Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings

Google has partnered with Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings product suite to provide OTT measurement of select platforms, which include co-viewing. Using Google Ad Manager’s demographic pacing features means you can have your line item impression goals update automatically based on Nielsen in-demo rates and advertiser requirements.


Thank You for Reading

Have you noticed any changes from Google this week?

Check back next Friday for the latest from Google This Week.

Paul Hewett

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