Yesterday afternoon, the Official Google Blog announced two new features that will increase the transparency of search advertising as well as provide Google’s users options concerning what ads display. The two new features, the “Why these ads” link and the “Ads Preferences Manager,” will provide users with insight to why Google feels an ad is relevant to them and also allow users to prevent certain advertisers from targeting them in Gmail and search results.
Susan Wojcicki, Google’s Senior VP of Advertising, said the following of the new “Why these ads” feature:
“Our advertising system is designed to show the right ad to the right person at the right time. Over the coming weeks, we’re making improvements to provide greater transparency and choice regarding the ads you see on Google search and Gmail. Soon, you’ll be able to learn more about these ads by clicking the ‘Why these ads’ link next to ads on Google search results and Gmail.”
When a user clicks the “Why these ads” link next to the ad, Google will provide an explanation on why the user was served that specific ad. In addition, if the ad was personalized on the basis of geographic location, other search queries, language and other factors, Google will inform the user.
In addition to the new “Why these ads?” link, Google users can now access an “Ads Preferences Manager,” which allows the user to block an advertiser and turn off personalized ads. If a user blocks an advertiser’s ad, that user will no longer see ads from that specific advertiser. At this time, Google is indicating that an ad being blocked by users will have no direct impact on either Quality Score or Ad Rank. When a user blocks personalized ads, it is still possible to reach that user, but targeting is not as effective.
Google is undoubtedly hoping that these two new features, which come in the wake of privacy concerns and required privacy audits, will silence critics and lawmakers who have been demanding that Google become more transparent.