Cohort audiences

Google’s Cohort audiences assigns each browser to a single audience segment, based on their browsing behaviors. Cohorts are mutually exclusive, meaning each browser belongs to one and only one Cohort. Each Cohort is meant to be a large group, that prevents marketers from using their audience segmentation for measurement or optimization.

Google has two proposals called FLoC and FLEDGE for advertising without cookies in Chrome, both involving interest-based cohort audiences. Criteo also introduced a proposal called SPARROW, some elements of which have been incorporated into FLEDGE. SPARROW aims to enhance Google’s proposal by providing more control and transparency while maintaining privacy guarantees for users. These enhancements include:

  1. Audience discovery and extension: In addition to driving traffic and sales through engaging users based off the interest group they belong to, SPARROW would allow advertisers to create upper-funnel and lookalike campaigns based on those interest groups. These campaigns typically aim at bringing new products and services to the attention of users, and SPARROW proposes a design that makes these strategies possible in a cohort-based privacy approach.
  2. Data protection and security: In the SPARROW proposal, Criteo recommends having an independent party, or gatekeeper, execute real-time bidding rather than the browser doing so. The gatekeeper protects user group data by ensuring that advertisers, publishers, and AdTech partners cannot access any personal information about users’ interests and browsing behaviors.