Google Topics Emerges as the Potential Third-Party Cookie Alternative

Ever since Google’s announcement last year that it would end third-party cookies, the search network has been trying to find a way to satisfy both privacy regulators and advertisers. Now it has a potential alternative: Google Topics.

What is Google Topics?

Google Topics is an interest-based advertising strategy that is currently being proposed as an alternative to third-party cookies. What this means is that when someone visits a website, their browser would determine a few topics that represent the user’s top interests for that week based on browsing history.

Participating websites would then be able to share some of those interests with advertisers, who could then engage in targeted advertising based on your topics of interest rather than other identifying information – including which websites you’ve visited, and any sensitive information like race or gender, all which would have previously been available via cookies.

Google gives this example of what is shared with third-party cookies versus what is shared with the new Google Topics. Source

What does Google Topics mean for advertisers?

While Google Topics is never going to compare to the 1-to-1 advertising that was possible with cookies, it does seem like a viable third-party cookie alternative. Advertisers will need to strategize around topics and interests that may not always line up perfectly with users (for example, someone researching refrigerators will be shown an ad in the more general “appliances” category). They may also want to consider combining Topics with first-party data, which can help ease the transition by creating more personalized advertising opportunities.

Get help with paid advertising strategies

We get it. Trying to solve for “x” when it comes to the new world of privacy and advertising can be time-consuming. That’s why we help our clients manage pay-per-click advertising, so they can focus on other areas where they are needed while staying in the loop on ad performance. We would love to work together.

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