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Google’s My Ad Center allows users to control their ad experience, and follow brands

A stylish new experience in the My Ad Center was announced today at Google's annual I/O event. It provides users with a few more options to control wh

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A stylish new experience in the My Ad Center was announced today at Google’s annual I/O event. It provides users with a few more options to control which messages are delivered via select Google properties.

Google users will be able to dictate:

  • What brands and topics do they like.
  • The amount of personalization they are comfortable with personalizing their ads.

These customization options can be accessed through the new My Ad Center experience or directly from within the ad itself.

Privacy has been the primary issue for the past few years. While Google focused on offering a variety of solutions, it was often difficult to navigate to the unskilled user.

If adopted by consumers, the My Ad Center solution should help feed Google’s ad serving intelligence while improving user experience on Google properties including YouTube, Discover and Search. With the elimination of third-party data, the ability to follow brands will provide critical feedback directly to Google.

Here’s everything we know about My Ads Center from Google I/O:

Follow brands and themes. All Google users will now be able to choose which brands and topics are most relevant to them and that they want to see. This is very different from the subjects targeted in the Privacy Sandbox now being tested, where the input is dictated directly by the user.

An example given by Google is that a user interested in a hybrid car may choose this as a topic they are interested in and will be shown ads related to that specific topic. This can also work for specific brands that users enjoy

The main difference is that the user will directly provide Google with inputs to help target targeted ads.

Customization controls and data sources. The My Ad Center site will be the go-to for users looking to restrict any/all personalization including age, relationship status, education and demographics. Users may also restrict or opt out of sensitive advertising topics (eg, gambling, alcohol, dating, weight loss, pregnancy and parenting) within the My Ad Center.

The last customizable element in My Ad Center is the control over the data sources used. Google users will be able to choose which data sources can be used to customize ads and which ones should be used across certain Google properties (such as personalized search and YouTube recommendations). This input comes in the form of wanting more or less advertising from a topic or brand.

Expanded controls inside ads. While My Ad Center is nice, let’s be honest, sometimes people just want to make changes right away when they’re shown an ad. These people are lucky with the extended controls inside the ads.

Google users will have the ability to make changes or get targeting clarity directly within the ad itself. New expanded controls will allow users to like, block or flag an ad while also being able to adjust targeting if you want to see more or less of the brand or topic offered.

However, the biggest change for advertisers may be the transparency features built right into the ad controls. “About this ad” is being replaced by new transparency features that should further explain why users are viewing the ad.

Expanded controls will include transparency features that show who paid for the ad (using advertiser identity verification) and the account categories used to display the specific ad.

In the past, users could see “why this ad” information that would display matching criteria. But the ability to know who paid for advertising is new and important.

Not for the Google Display Network, Gmail, or search partners (yet). When the My Ad Center launches, the only products supported will be Google Search, YouTube and Google Discover. At launch, there will be a second Ad Settings page separate from My Ad Center for sites that share ads outside of Google (ie the Google Display Network).

Topics or Brand Updates entered in My Ad Center will not initially be passed to this new, second ad settings page. However, if ads personalization is turned off completely within My Ads Center, this will stop all personalization across all Google-owned and non-Google-owned sites.

Why do we care: My Ad Center appears to be Google’s best effort yet in terms of privacy control. Users will not only be able to see why the items are being offered from the hub, but also from within the ads themselves. Most importantly, users will get clarity on who pays for the ad being shown. If you’re an advertiser currently trying to hide your information and fly under the radar, look elsewhere because your days are numbered on Google properties.

Adding brands and topics to follow is a unique feature that could be of future benefit to advertisers. Rather than just making use of items from the Privacy Sandbox like Topics, this may provide Google with first-party user input signals for targeting. However, the success of this option will be associated with its adoption. If Google users do not take the time to provide feedback in My Ad Center, the value to users (and advertisers) will not exist.

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About the author

Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that offers digital marketing and web development. He is the co-host of Marketing O’Clock and has been in the digital marketing field for nearly 20 years. You can also find Greg on Twitter (Tweet embed) or LinkedIn.


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