Google Retires FLoC and Introduces a New API Solution for Topics

Google retire floc

Last week, Google announced the launch of their new user privacy solution, the Topics API. The need for this solution arose in the wake of criticism from consumer privacy advocates after it was revealed that Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) solution would be storing consumers’ web browsing history on centralized servers. 

This greatly violates consumer privacy and created an uproar amongst privacy rights activists, so Google responded by replacing FLoC with its new topic-based solution called the Topics API.

What is Floc?

The federated learning of cohorts (FLoC) was introduced in March of 2021, as a Privacy Sandbox initiative designed to allow browsers to enable interest-based targeting. 

This was a major step forward in web privacy, as it meant that websites could now capture more precise information about the individual user, such as their browsing history, preferences, and more. 

Unfortunately, the FLoC was met with a great deal of controversy, as it made it possible for websites to learn a great deal about a user without their knowledge or consent. 

In the end, the initiative was largely abandoned by mainstream browsers, with only a few prominent browsers, such as Safari and Firefox, continuing to support it.

The New Topic API

For a long time, the advertising industry has been trying to figure out a better way to target ads to users. 

The traditional method of targeting ads through user behavior has some major drawbacks, such as showing the same ad to other people even when they don’t buy the product or service being advertised. 

Merely showing an ad to someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get a conversion that day. 

It’s also pretty obvious that if a person sees an ad for a product or service multiple times, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to buy that product.

How Are Topics Different Than FLoC?

The first difference between the two targeting solutions is that Topic interests will be deleted from a user every 3 weeks. On the other hand, FLoC interests will be saved and can be viewed at any time. 

This means that Topic interests are a lot more relevant than FLoC interests because they are constantly being refreshed. 

This also makes it easier for businesses to build custom advertising campaigns since they do not have to build their ads around the same ads that users see over and over again.

The Topics API gives the user complete control. Users will be able to see the topics that are relevant to them. Individuals will also be able to fully opt out of Topics or remove certain topics that are associated with them.

Sites that are considered to be sensitive categories, such as race or sexual orientation, are immediately excluded from a user. The user’s safety is prioritized in this upgrade.

Why Should Advertisers Care?

Third-party cookies will be removed by Google at some time in 2023, according to Google. Advertisers must be aware of their alternatives as a result of this shift.

Knowing about this new targeting option will aid marketers in determining how, if at all, their approach will change as a result of these modifications. Knowing what themes will be available later in the year might help you determine how focused your advertising can be.

Due to individual user privacy, re-marketing attempts (aside from first-party data) may still be limited. Instead of depending on browser activity to seal a deal, you may need to change your advertising strategy to focus on the best way to capture first-party data as early as possible in the customer journey.

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