Oh my, oh my, Google today announced the launch of Interest Based Advertising.
Apart from the new Yahoo Search Marketing (Panama) platform, this is possibly one of the most exciting and eventful launches I have seen while working in Paid Search.
In a nutshell, Interest Based Advertising is a way of tailoring ads to an individual’s interests based upon sites that they have previously visited. The web-tailored ads obviously have benefit to consumers, advertisers and publishers as ads are shown to a highly relevant and an already interested audience.
Whilst I am all for this, there will undoubtedly be an outcry from those that are worried about how this web browsing history is collected and stored. I think that Google has handled this quite sensitively and given all users a number of very easy “opt out” methods why they can choose not to be shown Interest Based ads. There is also a great amount of transparency with the Ad Preferences Manager which will let you view, add and remove categories that are used to show you interest based ads.
Google will not collect any personal information about you such as your email, phone number, etc. Instead, the information will simply be stored as a cookie in your browser. This cookie will be a random string of numbers and letters, and will obviously be deleted if you delete your cookies.
For example, if you visit an entertainment site that has “Ads by Google”, a cookie will be dropped and stored in your browser to remember your visit. If you then visit a number of other entertainment related sites, your cookie number will be placed in the entertainment interest category. Once your cookie number is in the entertainment interest category and you visit a site that shows interest based ads, you are likely to be shown more entertainment related ads.
Google will also use the cookie to track your interaction with sites. For example, if you looked at buying a pair of trainers from Nike.com but decided against it, the next time you are on a site that shows interest based ads, you may see an ad from Nike.com with a sale on the type of trainers that you were looking at!
So, it is all very exciting stuff and Google are due to begin beta testing this soon. I will be interested how they can slot this in within the Contextual and Site Placement models that are currently existing, as these interest based ads (in my opinion) will have no relevancy to the content on the site? I may have read into this wrongly, and would be really interested to see what anyone else thinks.