While intense debates rage around the prospects of a cookie-less digital world, Google has announced its replacement — Topics API. Digital marketers are divided over its efficacy, but many believe it’s a worthy substitute for third-party cookies. Experts have opined that it’s a step in the right direction as far as user privacy is concerned.
What Are Third-Party Cookies?
A web cookie is a tiny piece of text that your browser receives from the websites you visit. When this happens, the site keeps a record of your visit. The next time you open the website, it will remember your preferences and other relevant details to offer a better user experience.
Third-party cookies are positioned on websites by other parties with the goal of acquiring valuable information about the user. This data helps them to understand what kind of ads the user would find relevant. By means of these cookies, marketers get to know what kind of targeted content would be helpful to website visitors.
Given the overly apparent security concerns, as well as the problem of scammers and fraudsters using this kind of data, there have been calls to restrict the dominion of cookies.
Safari and Firefox have already put a lot of limitations on third-party cookies. However, Google has been slow in making alterations in this department. All of that changed in 2020, when it announced that it would phase out third-party cookies from the world’s most popular browser, Google Chrome, by 2022. It also reassured businesses that the replacement would come with better possibilities while not infringing on the privacy of users.
Enter Topics API, a part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, which is focused on enhancing web privacy.
The New Entrant
Google Topics, as its name suggests, analyzes your interests. For instance, if you like to watch pictures of kittens, you may soon end up seeing ads of pet food while browsing websites. A Topics-enabled Chrome browser will underline a few categories that interest you, based on the website hostnames you visit regularly.
Third parties will get to know about the “topics” that catch the attention of the visitor on the basis of their browsing history of the past 21 days. It selects three topics and passes on the information to the site and advertising partners.
Advice For Marketers
As discussed between me and my business partner, Raghib Khan who is also the co-founder of RNF Technologies and Phonato Studios, advertisers, marketers, and content creators will ultimately have to accept that cookies are slowly going to fade away. Because of this, marketers must creatively innovate and come up with new solutions and practices to attract the attention of prospects.
While being great for maintaining user anonymity and privacy, the limitations of Topics API are pretty obvious. Taking into account the recent revelations around the fact that it focuses more on broad categories, the present model may make it challenging for marketers to offer personalized ads to website visitors. Therefore, they must embrace a multi-pronged approach to acquiring new customers rather than relying on browsing data alone. That said, Topics is still in its nascent stages, and we will get to know more about its offerings in the coming months.