How to Prepare for Google's "Topics" + Cookie Alternatives - Carney
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How to Prepare for Google’s “Topics” + Cookie Alternatives

By now, everybody has been made aware that third-party cookie data is on the outs and will be phased out by Google in 2023. But, that hasn’t stopped advertisers from using them now without thinking about the potential for a “measurement blackout” down the line.

We’re here to give you the latest on Google’s privacy updates and what it means for your marketing.

How Topics work for users:

At the beginning of 2022, Google’s new Privacy Sandbox proposal introduced “Topics” that will replace Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). FLoC, a type of web tracking, was the original alternative Google was going to take for its phase-out of third-party cookies. From a user’s POV, here is how Topics work:

  • Topics uses categories that represent a user’s top interests for that week based on browsing history.
  • They’re kept for three weeks and then old topics are deleted.
  • When browsing a participating site, Topics picks three categories to share with the site and its advertising partners.
  • Users can adjust their Chrome settings to see the Topics, remove them, or disable Topics completely.

What do Topics mean for advertisers?

  • Some fear: The goal of Topics is contextual advertising, so instead of individual user data, ad relevancy is going to depend on these interest categories. Advertisers are fearing a drop in accurate targeting and opt-ins in general, but time will tell on this.
  • Some waiting: Google is still releasing more information on Topics (such as the exact list of categories used). So there is still more to come on how marketers can get their strategies aligned to the major Google and Apple updates.
  • Some shifts: With that being said, cookies affect in-browser advertising. Many advertisers are leaning to the outlets they don’t affect –– paid search, social media, streaming audio/video, or CTV.

Learn more about how to prepare for Google’s Topics and what marketers think about it in Marketing Dive’s article.


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