Google Topics Attracts Marketers, Publishers As Identity Adoption Becomes Urgent

Google Topics, the newest entrant to the identity space, is the most popular solution when it comes to compliance with privacy regulations to identify and target consumers with ads. It’s actively used or tested by 71% of respondents to a recent Lotame study.

The use of probabilistic or predictive solutions like Cohorts, contextual, authenticated email-based and Google Topics has grown 50% year-over-year (YoY), demonstrating a larger jump than any other identity category.

Andy Monfried, founder and CEO of Lotame, believes centralization impedes innovation and creates unhealthy dependency on a handful of tech giants at a time when the industry should be pushing for interoperability.

Thirty-six percent of respondents to Lotame’s most recent study -- Beyond the Cookie: Next Generation Customer Acquisition & Retention for Marketers & Publishers -- are concerned about growth if they can’t target beyond walled gardens. Some 31% feel constrained by having to work within them.

Marketers are not thrilled by their options, but 37% plan to increase their investment in walled gardens in 2023, up from 18% in February 2021. This is likely to come at publishers’ expense, as 54% of marketers predict a reduction in programmatic spend during the next year. Only one-third expect an increase.

There’s an urgency to adopt identity solutions as limitations of email features and walled gardens cause frustration. It’s seen in the findings that examine how marketers and publishers plan to address customer acquisition and retention as the industry moves into a world where privacy dominates advertising strategies.

Fielded in September 2022, Lotame polled more than 1,400 respondents across the U.S., the U.K., Mexico, Australia, Colombia, India and Singapore to examine identity’s role in the cookieless future, how companies are building a tech stack to support advertising investments.  

While a large percentage of marketers and publishers use authenticated, email-based solutions, they’re anything but satisfied. Among marketers and publishers, 30% see limits in scale with email authentication, 30% are unable to prospect and acquire new customers based on email alone, and 58% state email-based identity solutions still use third-party cookies.

Despite Google’s delay of third-party cookie deprecation, 36% of marketers and publishers see identity as a more urgent priority, according to the report. And the urgency to test and use identity solutions has doubled year-over-year (YoY). Investments in data and customer data platforms (CDPs) continues to rise. Marketers, however, are more likely than publishers to use CDPs.

  • 44% rely on personalization as a primary strategy
  • 42% rely on data consolidation as a primary strategy
  • 61% report high satisfaction with CDPs
  • 39% see room for improvement with CDPs

When asked what types of new technology marketers and publishers plan to adopt in the next 12 months, the top-rated technology by both points to marketing automation platforms.  

The use of clean rooms also continues to rise. Some 48% of publishers, compared with 37% of marketers, use clean rooms. Despite the growth in popularity, 47% report privacy and 39% cite budgets as challenges. 

Interestingly, 58% of marketers cite budget and 19% cite privacy as the two top reason why they don’t plan to use clean rooms. 

When it comes to their adtech stack, marketers and publishers want to invest in collecting unknown customer data in addition to known customer data, with 37% planning to adopt data management platforms within the next six months to a year. 

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