With the looming death of Cookies, Google has been hard at work trying to find a replacement. The heavily criticized FLoC online ad system was initially meant to replace Cookies. However, Google finally pulled the plug on FLoC in favor of a new system called Topics API.
This article will dive into what FLoC was and look at how Topics API plans to change the status quo of digital advertising.
FLoC or Federated Learning of Cohorts was initially introduced in March 2021 as a replacement for the Cookie. FLoC’s purpose was to allow internet browsers to enable interest-based targeting.
The FLoC system was meant to allow browsers to use an algorithm to determine a user’s interest by analyzing their browsing history. The user will then be given a specific number and lumped together into a “cohort” made up of thousands of other people sharing the same interests.
The main idea was to protect the user by masking them behind thousands of other users in a cohort. Advertisers were still expected to use interest-based targeting. However, they can only target cohorts instead of a specific individual.
What Went Wrong?
While the concept behind FLoC looked good on paper, it received widespread criticism for allegedly being an ineffective way of protecting the user’s privacy. According to rival browsers like Mozilla, FLoC has numerous privacy flaws, and the cohorts system makes it even easier for others to narrow down a specific individual.
These flaws led to internet browsers like Brave, Mozilla, and Edge to reject the use of the FLoC system altogether.
Introducing the Topics API
As Google finally sunsets FLoC, they have also introduced a new system called Topics API. The main difference between Topics API and FLoC is how they gather data for interest targeting.
With Topics API, your browser can determine and pick specific topics that represent your top interests for that week. Topics are determined based on your browsing history, and the data is automatically deleted after three weeks.
These topics are selected and stored locally on your device and the data will not be saved on any external servers. Furthermore, the system will only allow a limited number of topics to be sent to advertising partners.
Topics API is promising to provide users more control of their data. Users should be able to view topics that are associated with their accounts. Users can also opt-out of the system entirely or remove specific topics associated with them.
Sensitive sites, as well as topics like race and sexual orientation, are excluded from user’s data.
Why These Changes Matter
The introduction of Topics API is a clear sign that Google is still going ahead with its plan to remove third-party Cookies in 2023. Digital marketers and advertisers will need to watch the industry closely to learn more about future alternatives.
This is also an excellent opportunity to learn and familiarize ourselves with how Topics API works, especially if it replaces Cookies in the future.
If you’re looking for other effective ways to advertise online, it helps to work with a company that knows the industry well and is always adapting strategies to stay ahead of competition.
Pay Per Click Co. offers industry-leading pay-per-click advertising management services for small to medium businesses. Contact us today if you want to know more about our services. Our team would be happy to answer any of your questions.