By MAGNA and Kinesso
 
This week, Google announced a new Privacy Sandbox proposal for interest-based advertising called Topics API. The development of Topics API improves upon many of the shortcomings of the previous FLoC trials, which were discontinued in July 2021. FLoCs grouped users based on cohorts, which generated concerns amongst privacy advocates that it would lead to fingerprinting and the ability to distinguish an individual user’s browser from within the larger cohort. Topics instead are primarily derived from user browsing history from past sites and manually curated into standardized IAB content taxonomies. This will allow advertisers to target in a more general fashion using topics such as Auto & Vehicles or Books & Literature with an initial launch of 300+ Topics. This manual curation of topics would potentially enable better user privacy as compared to third-party cookie-based targeting. In addition, Topics APIs approach is supposed to reduce cross-site identification by having different topics on each site, and calls to the Topics API can only be made to eligible site partners.
 
Topics will be generated for users at the domain or subdomain level of sitemaps and stored for three weeks at a time. Users will be able to view or remove specific categories or disable the feature entirely, thereby supporting better user controls when compared to previously proposed privacy sandbox solutions.
 
Testing will take place over the coming year with hopes to gain approval among users and privacy advocates alike.
 
With the deprecation of third-party cookies pushed until late 2023, this is a reminder of the clear erosion of targeting accuracy in cookie replacement technologies to become privacy compliant. Consent remains a key focus for both client and publishers. Kinesso will be exploring how Google governs consent as Topics are managed and/or manipulated.
 
As the Adtech arm of IPG, Kinesso continues to partner with Google to understand user consent management within Topics and will test Topics effectiveness as a cookie replacement solution. This update renews the emphasis on first-party data and the need for alternative solutions to increase addressability across the entire ecosystem. As such, Kinesso, MAGNA and Acxiom are continuing conversations with publishers to build out Kii-based integrations that will enable addressability via first-party data.
 
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