Google Makes Stunning Announcement About Targeted Ads
Targeted ads are everywhere. Do one Google search for a new guitar, and all you see are guitar ads for the next few weeks. It may not even matter if you bought the guitar. Your browsing history allows Google to create targeted ads specifically for you, based on your searches and interests. If you’ve accepted that this is how it works and how it will always work, you may be stunned to learn that Google has said it will stop the practice. As has been noted, this is being done even though targeted ads are a core part of the search giant’s business model. This move could change online advertising forever.
No More Cookies
There’s a lot to dig into here, but one key factor is that Google is going to remove third-party cookie support. As noted in Engadget, this will “effectively kill the main source of data tracking for advertisers and websites.” Ads in the future can be designed with similar targets in mind, but they cannot use this data to effectively find those targets.
Google’s plan appears to be to combine users into groups and consider putting ads in front of those who already have similar interests. This means that people will still see ads for things that these user groups are interested in, but the ads won’t be based on their specific browsing habits. The guitar that you searched for yesterday won’t trigger an endless string of guitar-based ads, though you’ll still get similar ads if you are interested in guitars in general and get included in those groups.
Google Says Not to Worry
According to Google, this shouldn’t matter to advertisers and things should be fine. Google’s David Temkin said specifically that “advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising.” He also said that people using Google and other sites should not merely accept that all of their data was being tracked, stored, analyzed and used to sell them products. Engadget called this “hard to fathom” considering how important that exact process has been to Google’s business model, but it’s what Google claimed all the same.
What Does This Mean for the Future?
This is a major change to advertising and it is definitely something you need to consider if you rely on targeted ads. How will Google’s group strategy compare to individual targeted ads? Do customers want this level of privacy? What can you do to make sure you’re not wasting your time putting ads in front of an irrelevant audience?
It’s also a good time to think about your search engine optimization and online content. Ads becoming less effective does not mean people will stop using Google. It puts more importance on search results and organic traffic. If you cannot draw people in with ads, you must rank highly to get noticed. It has never been more important to have the right content on your site.