Freaked out by Google Ads?

I imagine you’ve noticed that when you’re browsing the web, there are a whole load of sites which have spookily well targeted adverts on them. They can be a bit overwhelming, sometimes, and lot of folks feel like it’s an invasion of their space. Imagine you’ve been browsing for new shoes on your and suddenly all of your Ads are trying to sell you shoes…

It’s obvious why companies do this, and how Google can make their money. If they know you’re looking at shoes, it’s not a big leap to realise that if they push some adverts under your nose you’re more likely to click and buy them.

But did you know you can “opt out” of this targeting? It’s pretty easy, too, at least with Google ads. There’s a wee video guide from Google just below, but if you don’t have the time or the inclination (insert appropriate Big Ben/Tower of Pisa joke here) then just click here to go straight to your own Web Ads Preference page, or here. Bear in mind that you’ll probably see more ads if you opt out on the search front, but they won’t be quite so targeted at you. According to Google, users who remain “opted in” to the targeted Search ads are 42% more likely to click on one!

For those of you with the curiosity as to how Google makes this work, they use cookies to keep tabs on the sites that you’re visiting, and so can glean a fairly decent understanding of the sort of things you’re looking for – either on a regular basis, or for a concentrated period My targeted ads are, unsurprisingly, virtually all for IT products and services.

Another trick you can use if you want to keep the targeted adverts live, but simply not to register that you’re looking at certain things (engagement rings, for example, gents) then you can start up a private browsing session and then your activity (probably) won’t be tracked and applied to your targeted Ad profile. Phew. I shall sleep easy tonight.