The Resemblance of Google Topics with Contextual Advertising
On July 1, 2022, Google will deploy “Topics – Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox proposal.” As we all know, it is a substitute for Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), Google’s first effort at a third-party cookie solution that was rejected owing to significant community feedback..
For a very long time, many eyes were on Google, for its proposal to replace third-party cookies.
This new API prioritizes user privacy and is based on an interest-based advertising strategy that displays ads without monitoring the site a user visits.
Keep reading this blog to learn how this new API is similar to contextual advertising. And is the best method to strike the correct balance between privacy and relevant advertisements.
But, before we move forward, let’s recap what it is, how it works, and what are its pros and downsides So, let’s get this party started.
What is Google Topics?
In terms of privacy, Google Topics is Google’s recommended alternative to third-party cookies. It is a browser-based system that assigns a person a set of interests depending on the websites they visit.
The Topics API then shares these interests with partner websites and ad tech businesses, which may subsequently utilize them to deliver targeted digital adverts.
Because all tracking takes place on the device, data is only kept for a maximum of three weeks and no information is exchanged with any other services (including its own).
The Topics API performs three key functions:
- A website that maps out and hosts interesting subjects. A gym website, for example, would be classified as “Fitness.”
- Determine the most essential subjects for a user based on their browsing history.
Google presents the Topics API as a viable middle ground between ad personalization and user privacy that will influence the future of the post-cookie economy.
However, the business makes a point of emphasizing that the technology is still in its early phases of development.
How is Google Topics Similar to Contextual Advertising
Is there anything similar to this new privacy-preserving feature that targets an audience depending on the context of the page? Yes, this is our traditional contextual advertising.
If a yoga class, for example, wants to target people who read workout articles, it could simply buy advertising on sites like fitness magazines.
Because of the context, the advertiser would know people who visit these sites are interested in Yoga and fitness and can place the ad accordingly. This is what Topics does for you as well.
According to the most recent Google Topics developer guidelines, “Interest-based Advertising (IBA) can help marketers discover potential consumers and help support websites that cannot otherwise readily monetize visits to their site merely through contextual advertising.” IBA can also enhance contextual information for the current page to help the user discover a relevant advertising.”
Furthermore, advertisers must recognise that Google Topics API is not a stand-alone tool or a replacement for cookies; instead, Topics API should be complemented with first-party data or a contextual signal technique.
Working Procedure of Google Topics
Subjects API identifies a number of topics, such as “Health & Lifestyle” or “Yoga & Walking,” based on a user’s browser behavior, that represent their main interests for the preceding week.
When a user visits a participating site, the API will share up to three subjects from the previous three weeks with participating sites and their advertising partners, who may utilize it as one of many possible signals for interest-based advertising.
Topics are maintained for three weeks before being removed.
For example, if you want to attract people who are interested in fitness and are marketing gym memberships or sports equipment, you may do it in a relevant and confidential way.
Google now categorizes the pages you visit using a list of 300 themes. When you visit a new website, Google will classify it based on the best fit.
The most critical aspect in deciding what you see while utilizing Google Topics in your browser. Your browser will learn about your interests and gather information about the websites you visit while you explore the web.
Based on all of the user activity data, Google will then provide your interests to appropriate advertisers.
Google Topics Tackling the Privacy Issue
Returning to the primary point, user privacy is the reason why everything began in the first place. Has Google Topics been effective in resolving consumers’ privacy concerns?
- Reduces the Likelihood of Fingerprinting
By launching a restricted selection of subjects (350 in the initial concept, now 300), the prospect of people being recognized based on their unique areas of interest is reduced.
Furthermore, the same person may have various themes allocated to them across other sites, which adds a little bit of noise and makes revealing their identity more difficult.
- Increases Transparency
We investigated additional approaches to make interest-based advertising in the Privacy Sandbox more visible and useful to users in response to previous comments.
Chrome users will be able to readily identify the themes related to them, such as “Pop Music” or “Tourist locations.”
- Continues to Avoid Sensitive Categories
To avoid introducing sensitive themes by accident, the list of potential topics will be made public and manually selected. This list will be established and maintained in partnership with the internet ecosystem, and it will be made public so that users and the community may offer comments.
Google has also resolved the following privacy issues:
- The user has total control over the subjects exposed to advertisers.
- The subjects can be deleted or disabled from the browser.
- To display advertising about any issue, the site does not need to know who you are.
- As with third-party cookies, the exact sites you’ve visited are no longer shared throughout the internet.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Google Topics
Advantages of Google Topics
- Topics are carefully chosen to avoid addressing sensitive issues such as gender or ethnicity.
- Topics provides a more familiar method to monitor and regulate how your data is shared since it is powered by the browser.
- Online companies may continue to provide relevant adverts without employing covert monitoring techniques such as browser fingerprinting if you provide websites with your themes of interest.
- In the present version of this concept, topics will be chosen locally on people’s devices, without the participation of any external servers.
- To reduce the quantity of data linked with an individual at any one moment, topics will only be retained for three weeks before being erased.
Disadvantages of Google Topics
- Topics are selected based on popular sites visited by users, with each publisher site representing no more than three categories. This makes it difficult for huge organizations covering a wide range of topics such as politics, business, sports, and so on to effectively represent such publishers’ inventory and reader interests.
- Topics do not take into account the interests of customers outside of Chrome, therefore there is no consideration for what the user does on linked TV or Safari, for example.
- Marketers have a highly inadequate image of consumers’ interests if they do not grasp the topics they read on their iPhones, making it difficult to contact them with appropriate advertising to generate sales.
- Topics also only identify domain-level interests, posing another barrier to properly understanding what is relevant to the customer and advertising items or services they are likely to purchase.
- Google Subjects will only identify topics of interest based on user Chrome usage.