Google and YouTube launch ‘interest’-based ads

11 Mar 2009

Google has launched the beta of its Ads Preferences Manager, which will enable interest-based advertising on YouTube and the Google content network, and allow marketers to connect with people based on their interests and visits to websites.

Using the service, advertisers will be able to serve ads to users who have previously visited their website on  both the Google content network and YouTube.

For example, if a user looked at football boots on a sports-wear website in August, that website might want to serve ads to that user on other websites in December, alerting them to its winter sale.

Marketers will also be able to target customers based upon categories of interest associated with them. These interest categories will be assigned based on previous YouTube video views and Google content network views.

For example, if someone spends a large proportion of their online time looking at videos of cars on YouTube and car-review sites on the Google content network, they will be categorised as a car enthusiast and will have the opportunity to see more car-related ads on the Google content network and YouTube.

With the Ads Preference Manager, users will also be able to see and control how they are being served ads, so they can view, add and remove interests, or opt out entirely from receiving interest-based ads.

“We believe ads are a valuable source of information that can connect people to products, services and ideas that interest them,” explained Google’s Damian Lawlor, director, AdSense and YouTube Online, EMEA.

“By making ads more relevant and improving the connection between advertisers and our users, we can create more value for everyone.

“We think we can make online advertising even more relevant and useful by using additional information about the websites people visit.

“Our interest-based advertising beta ads will associate interest categories, such as sports, cars, or pets, with a user’s browser, based on the types of sites they have visited and pages viewed. We may then use those interest categories to show users more relevant text and display ads. So, if a user is a keen traveller and visits lots of travel sites, Google could show them more travel-related ads.”

Lawlor said that Google expects the ability to get the right ad in front of the right person at the right time will improve over time, as it builds interest categories with the help of users and publishers.

“Interest-based advertising will help people see better, more relevant ads online, create new opportunities for brand and direct-response advertisers and help publishers make more money from their online content.

“We believe that better advertising is better for everyone, especially as the new Ads Preferences Manager will offer users greater transparency, choice and control over what ads they see,” Lawlor said.

By John Kennedy