Marketers who use Google Ads want to make their ads are targeted as possible, particularly through search and display options. However, from the consumer viewpoint, Google is very aware of privacy concerns and they publish an FAQs page to address the issues such as why specific ads are seen online, how personal data is used for ads and how it can be controlled for privacy.
A recent Google study showed that 80% of consumers are concerned about the state of their online privacy and, in 2022, searches for ads privacy hit at an all time high. So to address these concerns, and to provide some controls, these are some of Google’s answers to the most common questions:
Why does Google serve ads?
Ads fund a wide array of helpful Google products that people love and use everyday like Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube or Google Search. Advertising revenue is an important way for content creators and publishers to finance their businesses without charging you directly, meaning more people get to access quality content online.
Why does Google use my information to show me ads?
It doesn’t always use your information to show relevant ads, but it may use your information to select ads they think are aligned to your interests or to help you discover something new.
The consumer is always in control of the information with easy-to-use privacy tools, and it’s always their choice to share the information with Google and decide how it’s used for advertising.
What information does Google use to personalise the ads I see?
It uses your activity on Google – like sites visited, apps used, and things searched for – to deliver better, more helpful experiences across its products, including ads.
It never uses sensitive personal information such as health, race, religion or sexual orientation to tailor the ads seen. Depending on personal settings, it may show personalised ads based on specific interests. These settings can be changed at any time (see below).
Where can I see the information Google uses to serve me ads?
You can see what information is used to personalise ads that you see on Google Search, YouTube and Discover in your Google Account (for example, MyActivity).
Google knows that users want control over their ad experience. Now, with ‘My Ad Center’, it’s possible to see more or less of specific ad topics and brands associated with the account.
Specific information can be selected that the User does or doesn’t want used to personalise the ads. Also, certain sensitive categories, like gambling or alcohol can be excluded from being shown.
Does Google sell my personal information to advertisers?
No, it never sells personal information to anyone. Advertisers can choose specific parameters like demographics or geographic areas that they want to show their ads and they can reach audiences based on groups of users with similar characteristics, or consumers they have direct relationships with.
Does Google read my emails or listen to my phone calls to show me ads?
No, it never tailors ads based on what is said over the phone and any content in Drive, Gmail and Photos is never used for ads purposes.
There are a number of reasons why an ad may be seen for a product after discussing it, including the type of websites visited, apps used or a time, or day known to be particularly relevant for consumers of a certain product based on past sales data. Or there might have been activity on other websites that suggests to those websites or apps what personal interests might be.
If an ad is served by Google, it’s possible to see why that specific ad is being seen by clicking on the three vertical dots to load the My Ad Center panel, and then viewing the section ‘why you’re seeing this ad.’
Can I stop seeing personalised ads?
Yes, it’s possible to turn personalised ads on or off for Google and partner sites that use Google to show ads. If it’s chosen not to see personalised ads, ads will still be seen, but they will be less relevant.
You can find out more at ‘My Ad Center‘ and choose a personalised experience and keep up to date on more privacy features in the future.
If you want to know how we can help with your Ad choices, please get in touch.