Google to Serve Ads Based on Browsing History

    March 11, 2009
    Chris Crum

Google Ads Getting More TargetedGoogle has announced the launch of "Interest-based" advertising as a beta test for the company’s partner sites and on YouTube. In other words, Google will be serving ads based on sites users visit.

Google will allow you to choose categories for ads you want to see. You can also tell them categories you don’t want to see ads for. Advertisers can target ads to users based on past interactions they’ve had with them. Here’s what Google says about three important features of Interest-Based Advertising:

Transparency – We already clearly label most of the ads provided by Google on the AdSense partner network and on YouTube. You can click on the labels to get more information about how we serve ads, and the information we use to show you ads. This year we will expand the range of ad formats and publishers that display labels that provide a way to learn more and make choices about Google’s ad serving.

Choice – We have built a tool called Ads Preferences Manager, which lets you view, delete, or add interest categories associated with your browser so that you can receive ads that are more interesting to you.

Control – You can always opt out of the advertising cookie for the AdSense partner network here. To make sure that your opt-out decision is respected (and isn’t deleted if you clear the cookies from your browser), we have designed a plug-in for your browser that maintains your opt-out choice.

Interest-Based Advertising will roll out over the next several months in its beta form, and will expand later in the year. Advertisers looking to get in on the beta can go here

AdWords advertisers stand to have their ads more targeted and reach the right audience. AdSense publishers stand to further monetize their content sites by helping the ads succeed.

Privacy issues will no doubt be discussed extensively no matter how transparent Google is about it and how much control they give users. When you get into behavioral targeting, some people are just going to be uncomfortable. Although, studies have shown that consumers in general are actually getting more comfortable with it.