Skip to content

The cookieless future changes again

As recently as last autumn, I outlined something called FLoC, or ‘Federated Learning of Cohorts’, a Google proposal to compensate for the phasing out of third-party cookies around the web. It seems that the reaction from the ad industry as well as consumers was negative enough for the company to have come up with another idea instead. This is called Topics.

I’ve no doubt that many readers are glazing over already, but stick with it. With ‘Topics’, users are tagged with categories representing their recent interests from having visited participating sites. These are available for users to inspect, should they be bothered.

These ‘Topics’ will be what’s available to contextual display advertisers, rather than the full cookie-driven history used now. Google hopes the results that this system should offer to those advertisers will prove to be effective enough, even if it’s nothing like as granular.

I suspect that will be the case in much B2B advertising, but I also think many businesses will switch their budgets more towards paid search. With this of course (at least in its simplest form), users are telling us what they’re interested in, so we don’t need to know about what they’ve done in the past.

If you want to know more, there’s a good article on Marketing Dive. It concludes: “Whatever shape the cookieless future takes, Google is likely to emerge even stronger.”