Google announced that it was working on a new ad-targeting feature called “Topics” that would allow users to opt-in and share behavioral data with advertisers for the sake of targeting ads more accurately. The purpose of Google Topics is to replace third-party tracking cookies, which are becoming obsolete as browsers fight against them.
This is a huge shift from its former business model, where it earned billions of dollars by selling data to advertisers.'Google Topics' marks a significant step in Google’s new direction.
Since April 2022, Google has been testing a new, perhaps better, option, the aforementioned “Topics.”
Boiled down, Topics has three parts:
- It “labels” websites with a subject, or topic,
- It associates a user with topics based on browsing behavior,
- It shares a visitor’s topics with participating websites and ad networks.
Advertisers would be able to use Topics to target consumers who have expressed an interest in specific topics, like comics, on general websites. This proposed privacy-preserving feature would work similarly to contextual advertising, which is a technique that has been used for many years.
If Topics turns out to be successful, it could encourage the advertising and marketing community to explore other options for advertising. For example, they might look beyond the large programmatic advertising platforms to find contextual placements that could be advertising gems.
The new focus on privacy will probably make advertisers work harder, but it might be worth the effort if they can find good contextual opportunities.