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Dany Coutinho

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AdNews – Industry reacts: Google Topics simpler, more transparent but questions remain

February 5, 2022 | 3 minutes

Google’s Topics addresses some of the key privacy concerns that existed around FLoC, however industry experts still have questions around how the new tool will work.


Last week, Google released details on Topics, which will replace FLoC, as it prepares to phase out third-party cookies by 2023.


The latest tool in its Privacy Sandbox allows a user’s browser to determine a handful of topics that represent their top interests for the week based on their browsing history.


Google says Topics are kept for three weeks and that it is restricting the number of topics, which includes fitness, travel and transportation, to 300. Topics will also be selected on the user’s device without involving external servers, including Google servers.


The recent AdNews article featured our Head of Operations, Dany Coutinho, to get his reaction on what this means for digital marketing going forward.


Dany Coutinho, SillyFish head of operations

Focusing on topic isn’t new for Google, this has always been one of the many targeting options. Cookie-based targeting only improved the targeting and the messaging to the consumer. Topic targeting has been curated to improve relevance and exclude sensitive categories. The user’s browser determines topics that would be their recent interest based on their browsing history. So there is a certain level of improvement for the consumer, yes.


Do the changes from Google make it more difficult for the industry to prepare for the end of third-party cookies?

While this appears to be a step back, it is only because of the stringent privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the Australian Privacy Act among the many that have been forced upon media organisations to follow these new regulations. As difficult as it may get for the advertising industry, this is a much required step to see that the consumer privacy laws are followed.


Does Topics change how you’re preparing for the end of third-party cookies?
Topic targeting will be a little different than how it has been in the past. One of the key points is the restriction of the number of topics to 300. The key change to this is the topic selection will be on user’s device and no external server. Topic targeting is made to enable a browser’s transparency and control over the data in the Chrome browser – building controls to see topics of interest and to remove the one’s disliked.


Read more reactions from industry experts here.

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