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Technical experts shape the future of ad targeting and measurement

  • The future of how advertisements will be targeted and measured is debated within the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • Advertising industry insiders are worried about Google’s outsized influence.
  • Insider has identified 14 of the key people involved in W3C to run the so-called Privacy Sandbox.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Marketers, publishers and the adtech community are competing with Google to determine the future of digital advertising.

Google is removing third-party cookies from its Chrome browser, and advertisers are scrambling to find new ways to target and measure ads.

Google has developed an ambitious project called Privacy Sandbox to create replacements for third-party cookies. One of the most important propositions to come out of this is the federated learning of the Google Cohorts – or FLoC – which create groups of people that advertisers can target based on their browsing behavior.

Ad technology companies, technology platforms, publishers, advertisers and policy experts are testing these proposals and questioning whether they meet consumer privacy requirements while letting marketers target them.

The debates and the development of proposals take place in several sub-committees of the World Wide Web Consortium, which develops standards for the Internet. The most important subcommittee is called the Improving Web Advertising business group.

However, not all of those working on the Privacy Sandbox proposals are aligned. Critics point out that Google’s participation in W3C outnumbers the number of other companies, giving Google unfair weight in discussions of proposals and standards. A quick glance through the members of the W3C’s Improving Web Advertising business group shows that Google claims 43 of the 377 non-chairman roles in the group, a disproportionate number compared to other companies.

Google, however, says its work with the W3C shows that the rules of the new Internet are written in an open forum.

Insider has identified the key players involved in W3C boards and what they are working on. They include adtech companies, platforms, publishers and lawyers. They are listed in alphabetical order below.


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