On 11th May 2022, at the annual Google event (I/O ‘22), Google updated us on what it has been working on over the past year. Some of the items covered were:
- The addition of 24 new languages to Google Translate
- The release of the second beta for Android 13
- That Google Wallet will soon be live in over 40 countries
- The recent launch of multisearch, which allows users to search any way and anywhere, using both image and text
- The ability to request personal information to be removed from online “results about you”
What is My Ad Center?
A new tool that was introduced, which will launch later this year, was My Ad Center. This privacy and security tool will give users more control over the ads they see whilst using YouTube, Search and Discover, exclusively (Google’s other products may be added later).
Once a user accesses their ‘My Ad Center’ profile they can choose to share the brands they like and the topics that interest them with Google. This new feature means that when third-party cookies are no more, Google will still have the data it needs to be able to show users relevant ads. And, unlike now, the information will be provided first-hand, straight from the user. This means that it will no longer have to guess by looking at the sites they visit / content they read etc, like it would with the Topics API. (This is something I wrote about back in January of this year, if you wish to read more.)
My Ad Center users will also be able to choose what (if any) personal details (ie. age, relationship status, education) they want Google to use when targeting ads to them. And similarly, they’ll also be able to limit or completely opt-out of seeing ads on sensitive topics like gambling, alcohol, parenting etc.
Google also announced that it is expanding its control options, when you see an ad you do or do not like. This means that the user doesn’t need to stop what they are doing and log into My Ad Center if they see an ad they do or do not like – they can simply alter the targeting within the ad itself. Users will have the ability to like, block or report an ad, or choose to see more or less of the brand or topic shown in the ad, straight from the ad in question:
What does My Ad Center mean for advertisers?
Google announced that users will soon be able to see “who paid for this ad”. This is a big change as it is something that has never been disclosed before. This means that users will be able to see which advertiser (using Advertiser Identity Verification) is paying to show the ad.
The main point for advertisers to remember is that ad relevance should improve. Ads will soon be displayed to users based on the brands and topics that they have specified as of interest to them, which means that ad targeting should improve. This is something that is important to users and advertisers alike, as there’s nothing worse than being shown, or paying to show ads, that are irrelevant to the user.
However, it does mean that we will be reliant on users specifying their preferences/interests, so I’m not sure what happens if no one chooses to do so. We’ll have to wait and see.