What is Google Adsense’s “interest-based advertising”?

A week ago, Google Adsense sent publishers an email informing them of the upcoming launch of interest-based advertising and what changes must be implemented in the site’s Privacy Policy.

What is “interest-based advertising”?

It is basically a way for Google advertisers to reach more targeted users by showing ads based on the interests of a site visitor. If a user, for example, watches a lot of music videos on YouTube and visits primarily entertainment sites, Adsense will show more entertainment-related ads to that user, regardless of the site that user is in.

Huh? What does that mean?

Let’s say Joey is a regular visitor of our site, PinoyMoneyTalk.com, and he clicks on one of Adsense’s finance-related ads. Google will drop a cookie on Joey’s browser which monitors the sites he visits and even the videos he watches on YouTube. If Google discovers that Joey visits sports websites too and watches a lot of sports videos on YouTube, next time he visits PinoyMoneyTalk.com, Google Adsense will show sports ads to Joey even though “sports” is not contextual to the PinoyMoneyTalk.com site.

Is this the same as “behavioral targeting”?

Quite like it. Because Google’s cookie tracks the online behavior of site users to be able to show “interest-based” ads, it is basically serving ads based on the “online behavior” of a user.

Isn’t that invasion of privacy?

You could say that, but Google supposedly assures all users that any information collected will not be used to identify users personally and will not be used to show ads based on personal information. According to Google, “we will not show ads based on sensitive information or interest categories, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or sensitive financial categories, without a user’s opt-in consent.”

As a Google Adsense publisher, would I earn more from this?

According to Google, yes. Because more relevant ads will be shown to your visitors although the ads are not “in context” with the actual topic of your site, there will supposedly be more ad clicks from the user.

Do I need to update anything?

Yes. Google requires that Adsense publishers update their Privacy Policy statements by April 8, 2009. The Privacy Policy must contain at least three things:

  1. that Goole uses cookies to serve ads on the site;
  2. that the cookie serve ads to users based on their visit to sites on the internet; and
  3. that the user may opt out of the use of Google’s cookie by visiting Google’s ad and content network privacy policy.

This is confusing. Is there a sample Privacy Policy I can use?

Google does not suggest any particular language for the Privacy Policy but you can check out our sample Privacy Policies which abide by Google’s new changes.

Is this going to be good or bad for us Adsense publishers?

No one knows. After Adsense launches this in April, we’ll know whether this would benefit or hurt publishers.

What do you think? Will “interest-based advertising” be good or bad for you?

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10 thoughts on “What is Google Adsense’s “interest-based advertising”?”

  1. Interest-based marketing sounds cool! I guess this will somehow help us better in getting the interest of the users/relevance of the ads to his interests and he’ll eventually click on them more than he clicks on the ads related to your other posts.

    Hey James, naka 2 email na ako sayo, hope you’ll get back to me as soon as you can, 🙂

  2. kaso yung con neto eh pag nagviview ka ng PMT pero pala browse ka ng Miley Cyrus videos, puro nalang Ads about Miley makikita mo. Sabi nga ng isang user sa Adsense blog, i don’t want seeing flowers ads in a linux blog just because i browse flowers often! lol..

    siempre lahat naman yata may negative at positive kaya let’s just hope na mas marami ang magandang result neto.

  3. whoah..this is new and since this is yet to be done, no one yet could really say how this one would really fare. but i must say this is quite good…

  4. I feel the same with jonhar, though it sounds good, but for me i’m most likely to click ads related to the site i’m currently viewing. It would be kind of a shock to me if im browsing PMT looking for tips on money making, stocks, trust funds etc. and see wrestling ads (john cena, triple h, undertaker, wwe links) displayed here just because i always visit wrestling sites 🙂 I mean.. i already clicked those on the wrestling sites i visited. Me here in PMT means i’m reading financial articles (not wrestling news), so which ads am i more likely to click? financial ads of course. but then again maybe it’s just me 🙂 lets just hope for the best (of us adsense publishers hehe)

  5. Ewan pero ganun ang idea ng Google e. Pag “interesado” ka sa isang subject, iki-click mo supposedly ang isang related ad kahit nasa ibang site ka raw. April 9 ang simula ng “interest based advertising,” tingnan natin kung good o bad nga ito para sa atin. Hopefully good ito! 🙂

  6. Are the guys and gals from Google already testing this? I don’t know if it’s just me pero I noticed that the total number page impressions of google ads for my blogs suddenly doubled while number of visitors remained fairly the same and this started last March 25. I’m thinking this new “internet based advertising” has something to do with this. Anyone out there noticed something similar?

  7. @Jay Castillo: Mukhang hindi pa naman kinikick-off and ganitong advertising strategy so I don’t think it has something to do with your CTR and earnings. Ako nanotice ko na kahit anong kadami posts ko about celebrities, marami paring mga God-related ads na lumalabas sa Adsense ko, religious ako pero hindi rin naman ako pala browse nga mga gospel-related topics or videos. Pero I am guessing na baka mas maraming advertisers sa god-related keywords kesa sa celebs keywords. Kaya Jay, hindi pa IB ads ang may kasalanan.

    Testing? lahat dumadaan sa trial at testing, and the publishers can do nothing about it kasi feeling ko ang pag-implement nila yung “testing” process.

    It can only get better ika nga ni Charise.


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