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Google – FLOCs are out, Topics are in

  • - Travis Clinger
  • 3 min read

Today, Google announced Topics, a new proposal as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative to replace third-party cookies on Chrome. Topics is designed to help power “interest-based advertising” and is the successor to the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) proposal. Based on our assessment, Topics enables standardized high-level interest segments across the web—very similar to what contextual does on a publisher page today. There also appear to be mechanisms to increase user control, privacy, and transparency, and to prevent nefarious tracking such as fingerprinting. All in all, we see this as a positive step forward for the industry, but it’s not the silver-bullet solution for publishers. 

The future is contextual AND addressable 

LiveRamp has always maintained that the future state of the digital advertising industry will be based on both contextual and addressable solutions, not either/or. Topics, for example, will have the power to serve as a valuable intelligence layer for publishers and marketers, but it must be paired with audience data. Remove audience data from the equation and publishers will still have too many blind spots to effectively monetize their inventory and compete on the open web. 

Today’s announcement reaffirms our strategy and approach with the Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS). ATS is built on LiveRamp’s best-in-breed identity and is rooted in consumer trust and transparency. The industry, collectively, has rallied around ATS since its inception, and we continue to scale our adoption and performance worldwide. 

Today, we can proudly say that LiveRamp is connected to over 70% of time spent online, thanks to our expansive ATS publisher network and through direct publisher integrations. In total, more than 35 of comScore 50 publishers are live, and 11,000 domains globally have adopted ATS, including CafeMedia, Microsoft, and Tubi. 

ATS improves CPMs up to 84% across browsers 

It’s not difficult to understand why so many publishers are doubling down on ATS. The results speak for themselves. During a recently completed six-month analysis of 70+ publishers using ATS, publishers saw: 

  • 70%+ improvement in CPMs on Chrome, indicating that there’s an immediate benefit for pubs even where cookies exist today
  • 84% improvement in CPMs on Safari, demonstrating strong addressability and a clear monetization opportunity in cookieless environments today 

But it’s not just the supply side seeing marked improvements across key performance indicators. ATS has been shown to outperform third-party cookies for the demand side too. 

Brands benefit big from ATS 

Over the past quarter, 450+ of the world’s top brands ran more than 2,500 campaigns on LiveRamp’s people-based privacy-first identifier, RampID, and the campaign results speak for themselves:

  • 48% of total impressions were delivered in cookieless environments, which would have been previously impossible without ATS
  • 43% increase in conversions when buying on RampID 
  • 15% decrease in CPA 
  • Nearly 2x increase in win rates when buying on RampID compared to third-party cookies

It’s also well known that marketers are willing to spend a premium for addressable impressions. That’s part of why walled gardens account for 60% of all advertising spend. The consumers they reach are more valuable. LiveRamp delivers the same value across the open web, leading to a more equitable, competitive, and healthy ecosystem for all publishers.

The industry continues to test, learn, and prepare for the deprecation of third-party cookies. Simultaneously, ATS continues to prove its value and performance across all browsers.  

Questions about ATS? Reach out to [email protected] to learn more.