Online advertising is always a controversial topic of conversation. Many people detest it in all its forms, and proceed to harm the fortunes of websites (including MakeUseOf) by blocking it. Others realize advertising is necessary but want the quality of ads to improve.
Thankfully, things are getting better, with companies are giving us more control over the ads we see. It has been possible to disable Google’s personalized ads for some time, but Google has now rolled out a new Ad Settings page to make things even easier.
What Google Thinks It Knows About You
As detailed on The Keyword, Google’s new Ad Settings page “shows all the different factors that determine how ads are tailored to you in one view”. This gives you an at-a-glance overview of all of the things Google is using to tailor the ads you’ll see.
Crucially, you can click on any individual interest Google has listed for you, and turn it off if you think it’s there in error. And as Google bases these interests on your online activities while signed in, we guarantee there will be some errors.
Google, I looked at ceiling fan online once… and then purchased one. I don't need all of my ads to be for ceiling fans now. I'm good!
— abz (@abzg937) June 20, 2018
Many people reading this will probably be inclined to turn Ad Personalization Off to prevent Google targeting them with ads. However, that’s actually a dumb thing to do. You’ll still see ads, they’ll just be less relevant to your interests.
If you don’t think that matters then take a moment to think about the ads that really annoy you. The chances are they’re the untargeted ads aimed at absolutely everyone. And you’re only seeing them because Google has no idea what ads may actually interest you.
Customize Your List of Interests
The best thing to do is turn Ad Personalization On but then customize your list of interests. As an example, amongst many others, Google thought I liked Blues, Dogs, Parenting, Skiing, and Reality TV. None of which hold the slightest interest for me.
You may see Google as the Big Bad when it comes to online advertising, but the company should be applauded for its recent efforts to improve matters. In addition to the revamped Ad Settings page, Google Chrome blocks bad ads. And surely good ads are the future.