Google’s Performance Max Is Ready For Primetime; FLoC Is Not

A Commanding Performance

Google is expanding Performance Max, a product introduced last year that buys across YouTube, Maps, Search, Gmail, Google’s display network and Discover, which includes the product discovery and shopping feed. Check out the blog post. As part of the move, Google Local Marketing campaigns and Smart Shopping, a retail-sponsored product solution, will be folded into Performance Max next year. Performance Max campaigns won’t automatically run across all those channels. For one, there aren’t cohesive formats or strategies across them. But there are compelling use cases depending on the specific industry. For instance, think of local stores and quick-serve restaurants that are big on Search, Discovery and Maps; film studios that go from search keywords to YouTube trailers; or media subscription businesses with newsletter, news search and YouTube content operations. Why is Google doing this? Well, Performance Max accrues ad dollars to Google media. Almost like Google is taking a page out of the new publisher playbook – it’s all about a first-party data offering, baby. This is a reminder of what Google’s version of that type of offering looks like (H/T @alextcone).

Will FLoC Fly Again?

Google Chrome’s stay of execution for third-party cookies made waves. But there’s also big news happening behind the scenes. Case in point: Chrome is going back to the drawing board on FLoC, the Privacy Sandbox proposal for measuring ad campaigns without user-level tracking. One reason FLoC never got off the ground is because of pushback on “longitudinal privacy” issues, writes CafeMedia Chief Strategy Officer Paul Bannister at Web Wide Open. What’s that? It’s got to do with publishers that have logged-in users and how brands with CRM data might be able to parse an individual from within a cohort. There’s also potential discriminatory or privacy-invasive cohorts, like if the algorithm picks up on patterns related to how rehab or cancer patients browse the web, for example. On top of that, FLoC is a straight-up no-go in countries bound by the GDPR. Google acknowledged when it first proposed FLoC that longitudinal privacy issues exist, but claimed that it’s a big improvement over third-party cookies. The next iteration of FLoC will ostensibly be far more privacy-secure, but there’s a catch. Bake in more privacy protections and FLoC 2.0 will lose its edge in terms of targeting precision. 

News You Can Use

Journalists and writers with popular newsletters are a hot commodity right now, as media companies fight for new subscribers in an increasingly competitive user acquisition market. Substack is an active dealmaker among independent journalists, with offers of guaranteed minimum salary, subscriber-based incentives and backend support, such as health insurance, copy editing and monetization. Facebook is reportedly raising eyebrows with $200,000 to $500,000 offers to attract well-known journos to contribute to the Bulletin, its newsletter program. The New York Times opinion section recently announced a major revamp of its newsletter strategy by consolidating popular writers into its digital subscription (in other words, fewer freebie newsletters under the Times banner) and adding more niche newsletters as part of the subscription. On Tuesday, The Atlantic announced that Galaxy Brain, the free newsletter published by former Times tech opinion writer Charlie Warzel, will become part of its subscription. Galaxy Brain is still free to anyone until the end of November. 

But Wait, There’s More!   

Eric Seufert: ATT advantages Apple’s ad network. Here’s how to fix that. [Mobile Dev Memo]

LightShed: Is Peacock playing to win? And why is Comcast so focused on video biz? [blog]

Internet of Things services company Digi International acquires Ventus Holdings. [release]

Facebook will stop using facial recognition in photos and videos. [WSJ]

Phishing campaigns targeted YouTube creators with cookie-stealing malware. [CPO Mag]

You’re HiredTara Walpert Levy, a 10-year Google and YouTube veteran ad exec, is moving over to YouTube full-time in a big new role. [Variety]

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