Google launches behavioural ads

11/03/2009

Google has launched a new global product in an attempt to make advertising more relevant to web users through the use of behavioural advertising technology.

The search engine says that these new interest-based ads will display content that is specific to an individual user's preferences for the type of content they like to look at the most on the internet.

This will work by associating various areas of interest, such as adventure travel and sports, with the user's browser based the types of sites visited and the pages that are viewed.

The move follows the IAB’s publication of Good Practice Principles, the UK’s first self-regulatory guidelines to set good practice for companies that collect and use data for online behavioural advertising purposes, and the launch of www.youronlinechoices.co.uk , a consumer portal to help consumers understand online behavioural advertising and how their privacy is protected.

Susan Wojcicki, vice president of product management at Google, says that this means users benefit from seeing more relevant ads when surfing the web, while advertisers will have a more efficient way to reach their target audience and publishers could potentially generate extra ad revenue.

Addressing the issue of privacy and transparency, Google is to label more of its ads with links to information about how the ads are served and has launched an Ads Preferences Manager tool to let users edit or delete the behavioural categories associated with their browser.

It has also designed a plug-in to make sure those who choose to opt out of AdSense ads remain opted out even if they clear cookies from their web browser.

Wojcicki says that Google believes interest-based ads will offer the same "virtuous cycle" as keyword ads "by giving users more relevant ads while generating higher returns for advertisers and publishers".

Discussing the development, Nick Stringer, head of regulatory affairs at the IAB, comments: “The IAB welcomes the privacy-enhancing tools in Google’s new product, in particular the features aimed at providing clear information to users and maintaining their choice to opt-out by offering a ‘plug in’ to download on the user’s web browser.

"These build upon the core commitments of transparency, choice and education enshrined in the IAB’s Good Practice Principles for behavioural advertising published last week. They will also build greater trust in more relevant online advertising.”

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