Apr 09 2009

“Interest-Based Advertising” – Google’s new Ad Preferences Feature

Category: internet marketingJon Davis


A hot topic in online marketing today is behavioral targeting of online consumers.  The purpose being to build a profile of what individuals are interested in based on the websites they visit and guess which types of ads would be the most relevant to them.  While this method does provide a much more educated guess at which ads should be served and drive up CPM rates for publishers it is still at the core just a guess.

Google has found a way to take the guess work out with what is a glaringly obvious solution:  Just have their users tell them directly the types of ads they want to see.  On March 11th Google introduced a new feature called Google Ad Preferences.  If you use the feature it will change the types of ads you see while surfing the internet.

The current way that you are served up Google ads online is based on the content of the site that you are viewing.  Basically, this means if you are reading about cell phones then chances are you are going to see Google Adsense ads trying to sell you phone related products.  But, what if you have no interest in buying phone related products or services and instead are interesting in buying a new pair of shoes?  Google’s new Ad Preferences feature allows you to tell Google your current areas of interest and you will then be served up ads based on these interests rather than the content of the site you are viewing.

66% of U.S. internet users said that they would click on additional internet ads if they were more targeted                                                                                      Source: Deloitte/Harrison Group

The feature places a cookie onto your computer which tells Adsense publishers the ads to show you.  Using a cookie instead of associating this information with your Google profile is an important decision by Google and was probably made due to privacy concerns of users.  This means that you will only be served up your targeted ads if you are surfing on your primary computer, not if you are simply logged into your Google Account.

The following short video from Google will step you through adjusting your ad preferences and the steps they take to protect your privacy.

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