How targeted advertising works

Font Size:

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 doing this will mean that you are now shown ads at random and you won’t be able to block specific advertisers that you don’t like. So you might end up seeing more annoying ads than beforehand.

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

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Australians being caught out by fake parcel delivery scams

Fake parcel delivery scams are catching many Australians off guard.

Five cool Google search tricks

Are you making the most of Google? Here are five cool Google search tricks.

Ten basic tech tips you need to know

Save time and stress with these ten basic tech tips.

Written by ryanbo


Total Comments: 2
  1. 0

    Last sentence of article: “To deactivate . . . visit this page . . .”

    What page? Presumably “this page” should be a link, but it’s not.

    • 0

      It links you to your google log in page.
      So these instructions apply to you if you have a gmail account and you are using a Google browser.
      You can search “incognito” or clear the history – top right hand corner (three vertical dots) click history and then clear everything.
      However none of this will stop the spooks (or any government department) tracking you.



continue reading


Mozzies biting? Here's how to choose a repellent - and how to use it

Mozzies biting? Here's how to choose a repellent (and how to use it for the best protection) Shutterstock Cameron Webb,...


Sir Bob Geldof on grief, fame and getting through it all

I've hardly started questioning Sir Bob Geldof before he is off on a long, sweary rant about everything he thinks...


Abandon Australia Day and choose the history we want to celebrate?

Australia Day is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia. On 26 January 1788, 11 convict...


Speaking up for the disappearing art of listening

Columnist Peter Leith is 91 and describes himself as "half-deaf and half-blind". But he sees and hears a lot and...


Hyperpigmentation: How to tackle those tricky dark patches on your ski

There are plenty of great things about summer - sunshine, picnics and fruity cocktails immediately spring to mind - but...


Enthralling, dystopian, sublime: NGV Triennial has a huge 'wow' factor

Refik Anadol: Quantum memories 2020 (render) custom software, quantum computing, generative algorithm with artificial intelligence (AI), real time digital animation...


Where to eat, drink and play on Kangaroo Island

Australia's third largest island is an oasis of pristine wilderness, premium produce and hidden secrets ripe for discovery. Easily accessible...


Will you need a vaccination to visit Australian venues?

State premiers have suggested that once vaccinations begin in Australia, those without vaccinations may be banned from visiting some venues...