In brief, the Topics API refers to Google’s recent initiative on the replacement of third-party cookies, which implies audience targeting based on their key topics of interest.
What Is Topics API & How It Works
Developed as a replacement to the formerly introduced FLoC, Google’s Topics proposal implies advertisers’ ability to target their customers using the key spheres (i.e. topics) of their interest. Namely, each 3 weeks Chrome will utilize users’ web-browser history to infer 5 key topics of their interest, then send 3 of these 5 ones (one per each of the latest three weeks) to the so-to-speak participating websites for further use by their Demand partners, for targeting purposes.
The Topics data is to be stored for 3 weeks only, directly on users’ devices without the involvement of third-party server capabilities.
Potential Benefits vs. Drawbacks of Topics
Following the release of its FLoC proposal, Google has seemingly put even more effort into making its Topics API privacy-centered. At this point the company claims to have selected 350 topics, but many more to possibly be added in the near future. And according to the official announcement, each topic is curated thoughtfully to NOT include potentially sensitive data categories, like race, for example.
More importantly, Chrome users will be able to access and browse their generated topics of interest in their browser settings, and remove the least fitting ones, or even switch off the feature completely, if they wish to.
At the same time, Google’s decision to step away from audience targeting against massive volumes of aggregated user data, while also providing viewers with greater control of their topics of interest, may lead to lower targeting precision, according to some analysts..
The situation may, of course, change for the better in the months to come, as more websites will join Google’s initiative, but at this point, the perspectives of Topics adoption market-wide are still unclear.