Targeted advertising explained

Do you ever see ads online that seem to be specifically targeting you? Learn why this happens and whether or not you should be concerned.

It’s likely that you’ve noticed it before; you’re searching the internet for flights, or a new pair of glasses, and suddenly the internet is plastered with ads for these items. If you’ve ever wondered how and why this happens, and whether or not you can disable it, read on.

What is it?
These ads are usually displayed by Google Ads, an online advertising platform that is used by millions of Australian and international businesses.

The interests system is quite simple, for example, if you were to search for some sunglasses online, Google would see that a user is searching for sunglasses. Because Google is partnered with plenty of sunglasses retailers, their system will now display some targeted ads for sunglasses that you might find appealing.

It’s a win-win for Google and their clients because users see ads that they are more likely to click on. It’s usually a win for internet users as well, because we see ads that we’re more likely to be interested in, rather than entirely irrelevant products.

However, sometimes Google gets your interests wrong and they continue showing you targeted advertisements that miss the mark. If you’d like, you can visit this page and modify your interests and, by extension, the ads that Google shows you. You can also block specific ads from appearing by clicking the ‘X’ icon that appears in the corner of advertisements.

How to deactivate
You can also choose to deactivate targeted advertisements entirely. But bear in mind that doing this will mean you are now shown ads at random and you won’t be able to block specific advertisers you don’t like. So you might end up seeing more annoying ads than you did before.

To deactivate Google’s personalised advertisements, visit this page and scroll down to the bottom where you can find the settings to opt-out.

 

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Written by ryanbo

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