Google has updated its Ad Settings to give users transparency into what factors are being used to serve personalized ads. These factors are unique to the specific user and include demographics, specific advertisers and interest categories that Google has associated with them, along with the basis behind those associations. Users can choose to remove any of these factors from being used in ads that are being targeted towards them or can opt out of ad personalization entirely.
Google has also expanded its ‘Why this ad?’ information to all ads it serves, across all services (this existed previously, but was limited) so that searchers can find out why a specific ad was served to them when they see it.
What this means for marketers: Allowing users to opt out of factors limits the information being used to target them, which shrinks the data pool, but the overall impact should be a positive one for advertisers. This will help to address growing concerns about transparency regarding the personal data Google is collecting. It also gives users greater control over how that data is used, giving them an added level of comfort and trust. While it remains to be seen, unless there is a massive increase in the level of distrust in Google, it is unlikely that more than a very small percentage of users will use this feature to opt out of factors used to target ads towards them. Those who do choose to remove factors are indicating that they are not interested, so removing them improves the quality of the target audience.