Aiming to serve more relevant and useful ads to users, Google is testing out “interest-based” ads. This new ad serving technique will be initially tested out to Google AdSense partner sites and YouTube. The ads relate users’ categories of interest to their browsers based on sites they visit and view. This data is then used to analyze users’ interests and matched with relevant ads which shall be served to users when searching Google and viewing Google’s partner sites. Of course with such an ad targeting technique, the first question that we would all ask is user privacy.
So Google is making it clear that the interest-based advertising would be as transparent as possible and based on user choice which can be set using the Ads Preference Manager Tool. This tool lets users view, delete and add interest categories associated to their browsers.
This kind of tailored advertising does raise questions about user choice and privacy — questions the whole online ad industry has a responsibility to answer. Many companies already provide interest-based advertising and they address these issues in different ways. For our part, we’re launching interest-based advertising with three important features that demonstrate our commitment to transparency and user choice.
- 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.
In addition, users can also choose not to be part of this advertising cookie which they can do so by using a plug-in that maintains their opt-out choice on their browser. This would ensure that once they opt out of the advertising cookie, their information will not be in any used for interest-based advertising.