It’s a pleasure to be writing my first post as a QuirkStar and even more of a pleasure to be writing about such a smoothie of Google controversy - so I’m going to dive right in.
The blogosphere is currently awash with information about the latest Google release – “interest based advertising”.
Instead of being shown ads that relate to just the keywords used in your search query, these interest based ads are now shown according to your browsing history as well.
How it works:
- the ads are associated with categories of interest
- these categories are derived from previous sites or pages you have visited and shown an interest in
- you can edit these categories using the Ads Preference Manager Tool from the big G
- the categories are used by Google to make sure that the ads displayed are relevant to your browsing history
Do I hear any other small gasps of indignation?
This may work out better for you as you'll be seeing text or banner ads that you ARE actually interested in clicking on as they are more relevant. On the other hand, this also means that Google, and their advertisers, are now trying to infiltrate your personal browsing habits to make money.
There are quite a few people in the online world who are up in arms about their privacy being invaded in this way.
Some say they have no more trust in Google; that Google doesn’t respect their users and even that this new form of advertising is a mockery of human rights. This is all because the search giant is now tracking your every move online, without you really knowing about it (unless you read Google’s blog).
Personally (this view is by no means shared by the Quirk-iverse) my brain is amuck with conspiracy theories of Google's world domination.
Luckily for us, at the moment these “interest based ads” are in beta mode and are only being shared on Google partner sites and YouTube. There is also an opt-out option. Do I hear some sighs of relief and maybe see some shrugs of indifference?
Another upside is that advertisers are now able to target their ads more specifically, making their money spend more worthwhile – conversions and traffic off these behavior targeted ads should increase. Advertisers, say yeah!
Another problem may occur if you have browsed a lot of sites about cows and then go to a site that is unrelated to cows, but hosts this interests based advertising. If you visit a site about motorbikes you may still get shown ads for farming products or milk. These ads would be completely irrelevant to what you are currently looking for and a waste of advertisers’ time.
One of my questions is this: is online privacy becoming more and more extinct?
All in all, while I do have a few ruffled feathers I’m not too bothered. I’m more interested in these questions:
- Will this come out of beta testing?
- How much better will it actually be for advertisers?
- Is the negative publicity going to win in the end?
I think that it’s good for online advertisers working on the content network, but the public may have a lot to say about their confidential browsing being invaded.
My popcorn is ready, anyone care to join me in watching this play out?
Leila is the newest addition to our SEM team. She comes to us with extensive experience in PPC (having worked with IncuBeta), a background in programming and an interest in all things Goth.