As long as anyone would listen, I've been saying that Google is nothing more than a behavioral advertising company. Today, they proved it.
Google has announced new capabilities that will help advertisers reach an even more highly targeted audience. In addition to matching ads with the topic of a web page (called contextual advertising), Google will now provide advertisers with the ability to reach users based on their interests - despite the content they are currently viewing - wherever they are on the Google content network.
Interest-based (behavioral) advertising provides Web marketers with the ability to reach users based on a past interaction with them, such as visits to a website. For example, say you were an aspiring chef and visited a lot of recipe sites. Google will show you ads for products like cooking knives or aprons. Google will in addition provide a choice of interest categories, such as "Food & Drink," so advertisers can reach the audience most likely to be responsive.
Google believes users browsing the web will benefit from the additional relevancy that interest-based and behavioral ads can provide. You would think it would cause privacy advocates to choke on their Cocoa Puffs this morning, and you'd be right. Fortunately, Google's thought about that too. Simply visit the new Ads Preferences Manager to see what interest categories Google thinks you fall into. Users will be able to add and remove categories themselves that they want ads shown for and the categories they don't. The Ads Preferences Manager can be found by clicking on most "Ads by Google" links you see on ads throughout the web.
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