Wayne is a little bit concerned about the ads he sees online, which seem to track his internet browsing. Should he be worried?
I keep noticing the same ads popping up all over the internet, and they seem to be tracking me. Recently I looked into some flights and now everywhere I go online there are always ads for plane tickets to Sydney. How do they know I was looking at flights and should I be worried?
Hi Wayne, to put things simply, no, you should not be worried. The ads that you are seeing all over the internet are most likely Google Ads, one of the most commonly used forms of online advertising. If you find the interest-based ads (the ones which serve ads to you based on your internet browsing history) unsettling or invasive, read on to find out how you can deactivate them.
What are Google Ads?
Google Ads are a form of online advertisement that operates through Google’s advertising platform on websites and in search results.
Advertisements that appear within websites and be recognised by this little AdChoices logo that appears in the corner of the ad.
Advertisements are often targeted based on your search history and cookie information with Google, which is why you may see something you were thinking about purchasing popping up all over the internet after you looked at it once or twice.
Google advertisements also appear within Google searches as the first result when you type in a matching term, accompanied by a small icon indicating it is an ad. These allow websites to push themselves to the top of the Google search results, for a fee, to find new customers.
Approximately 40 per cent of online advertising comes from Google, and many Australian websites use it as their sole source of income. So it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with them.
Why am I being served dodgy ads?
Due to the immense scale of Google Ads, some dodgy ads are bound to squeeze through the cracks, despite both Google and individual website’s best efforts to stop them. If you notice any dodgy ads on a website, you can help by taking a screenshot of the website with the appropriate ad and sending it to the website owner or administrator. You can usually find their email on the website’s contact page. If you notice any dodgy ads here on YourLifeChoices, feel free to report them to Drew at [email protected].
How can I deactivate interest-based ads?
To deactivate Google’s personalised advertisements, visit this page and scroll down to the bottom where you can find the settings to opt-out.
You can also choose to deactivate specific ads by clicking the X icon in the corner of the ad and selecting ‘Stop seeing this ad’.