Details from the Official Google Blog
That's why Google has worked hard to create technology that makes the advertising on our own sites, and those of our partners, as relevant as possible. To date, we have shown ads based mainly on what your interests are at a specific moment. So if you search for [digital camera] on Google, you'll get ads related to digital cameras. If you are visiting the website of one of our AdSense partners, you would see ads based on the content of the page. For example, if you're reading a sports page on a newspaper website, we might show ads for running shoes. Or we can show ads for home maintenance services alongside a YouTube video instructing you on how to perform a simple repair. There are some situations, however, where a keyword or the content of a web page simply doesn't give us enough information to serve highly relevant ads.
We think we can make online advertising even more relevant and useful by using additional information about the websites people visit. Today we are launching "interest-based" advertising as a beta test on our partner sites and on YouTube. These ads will associate categories of interest — say sports, gardening, cars, pets — with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view. We may then use those interest categories to show you more relevant text and display ads.
We believe there is real value to seeing ads about the things that interest you. If, for example, you love adventure travel and therefore visit adventure travel sites, Google could show you more ads for activities like hiking trips to Patagonia or African safaris. While interest-based advertising can infer your interest in adventure travel from the websites you visit, you can also choose your favorite categories, or tell us which categories you don't want to see ads for. Interest-based advertising also helps advertisers tailor ads for you based on your previous interactions with them, such as visits to their websites. So if you visit an online sports store, you may later be shown ads on other websites offering you a discount on running shoes during that store's upcoming sale.
Our advertisers and publisher partners have been asking us for a long time to offer interest-based advertising. Advertisers need an efficient way to reach those who are most interested in their products and services. And publishers can generate more revenue when they connect advertisers to interested audiences.
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.
Keyword advertising has been so successful because it's useful to users, advertisers and publishers — everyone's interests are aligned. We believe that interest-based ads will create the same virtuous cycle, by giving users more relevant ads, while generating higher returns for advertisers and publishers.