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How to personalize internet ads

Internet ads follow a recognizable pattern. On many occasions they take into account what we have previously browsed. You search for a concept on google and automatically the whole web offers you ads for what you have searched for. Personalized online ads are not displayed based on sensitive categories, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or health.

It’s a good idea to personalize those ads and see what we really want to see and not what an algorithm has decided for us. Google shows you more useful ads on its services (e.g. Search or YouTube) and on websites and apps it has associated with it. Needless to say, most of the world’s websites work with Google. This same website also does, as you can see in the privacy policy.

Internet ad blockers

The most aggressive way to personalize ads is to not allow them to be displayed. If you want no one to offer you ads of any kind you can install the add-on in the browser you use. It’s a way to avoid that invasive advertising by using these ad blockers.

I have an article pending publication in which I talk about a website that offers courses to make you waste time and  money. Well, they don’t say it that way, but it’s basically what they’re looking for. That web page is not allowed by a blocker called Blocksite  to access by indicating that it is related to adult content.

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Figure 1. Page blocked due to its content

Therefore, you can use content blockers that include ads and web pages and thus not see any of that content.

Reasons why you’re shown certain ads

Ads are displayed based on your data. That data is mostly information about your Google Account, your age range, your location, and your gender. Also the ads are displayed according to our activity, in that case we distinguish the following:

  • Your history of search queries in the current search engine.
  • Previous search activity.
  • Your activity signed in to your Google Account
  • Your previous ad interactions
  • Types of websites you visit
  • Types of activity in mobile apps on your device
  • Your activity on other devices

There is also other relevant information such as the time of day or information you have provided to an advertiser, such as when you sign up for a newsletter with your email address. Google is going to try to customize your ads to make them useful to you. Above all, for Google, because its form of income is precisely those ads.

Personalize your ads

Google allows you to customize your ads. To do so you have to enter the page https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated as can be seen in Fig. 2. There is the option to disable that personalization, but in this case you have to take into account you will not stop seeing ads. You’ll just keep seeing ads, but they may not be useful to you or at least that’s what Google thinks.

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Figure 2. Ad personalization on Google

So with personalization turned off, the ads you see can still be based on generic factors, such as your search topic, time of day, or overall location.

Activated and deactivated factors

You’ll see a list of triggered factors, that is, criteria that are valid for ads. In my case there are more than 200 factors and part of those factors can be seen in Fig. 3.

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Figure 3. Permitted factors

In addition, you will be able to see the ads that you have banned in the past, as shown in Fig. 4, disabled or not allowed factors. All those factors turned off have been because I informed Google that I don’t want to see those ads. However, as you can see, there are websites that create several videos and you have to report every time you do not want to see those ads from that company. Ideally, if you block an ad from a company, you should never get ads from that company again.

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Figure 4. Ad disabled factores

Youtube ad categories

Another interesting feature is that you can see features of the ads in Youtube videos and handle it from this option. Specifically, Youtube ads such as alcoholic beverages or gambling you can avoid seeing them from this option.

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Summary

There are more than four billion Internet users worldwide today. This causes a huge market for advertising and advertisements on the Internet. People typically search for products using search engines, search for their favorite brands on social media, or subscribe to email campaigns and push notifications.

Advertising opportunities are huge, but using them correctly is not so easy. It is important that we, those who see that advertising have the option to allow or not allow certain types of ads. The use of ad blockers can be useful, but keep in mind that many websites live on those ads and even some of them will not allow you to see their content if you have blocked the ads.

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