This is the summary of an article from goodadm.com. It talks about how Google Inc. views behavioral targeting with caution, introducing new means of developing new features instead of jumping into this popular bandwagon technique. Here’s the link to the original behavioral targeting article: Google Wary of Online Behavioral Targeting Ads.
Unlike many other companies, Google Inc. views behavioral targeting with caution. While they have been studying the search entries of users for the purpose of target advertising, they are not keen on building profiles based on users’ online activities, as traditional behavioral targeting does. This was stated by their vice president of product management for advertising, Susan Wojcicki.
A Leader in Web Search
This year, Google is set to gain as much as $16 billion in profits, thanks to their successful strategy of tying ads to the words entered into its search box. Indeed, Google is one of the most popular Web search engines in the world today, with millions logging in to their site daily. In ad targeting, however, they explain that their actions are based simply on the users’ search activities, and not on other kinds of information.
What’s more, Google explains that they are more focused on tracking the words that are entered in during a “particular” search session. Wojcicki notes that this “task-based information” is very relevant and indicates what users are viewing at a specific, given time.
Reservations about Behavioral Targeting
Despite the potential to gain bigger revenues, Google is cautious about behavioral targeting, mainly due to the following reasons: First, there is the subject of personal privacy, which could bring about many complaints and cases filed by users. Second, Wojcicki states that their method of connecting ad links to Web searches has been really successful so far, thus eliminating the need to go beyond that.
A third reason is that trying to determine users’ intentions through tracking can be difficult, since their activities could vary each time they log in to Google. According to Wojcicki, for example, a user who types in “video games” into the search box might not necessarily be a gamer. Instead, she says, it could be a grandma who is planning to buy a present for her grandson, who likes to play video games.
Looking at the Last Search
Therefore, rather than jumping into the behavioral targeting bandwagon, Google is developing other features instead. For quite some time now, they are looking at a feature which provides ads that are related to a user’s last immediate search. For instance, if a user enters “Italy vacation” into their search box, advertisements about travel tours to Italy would come out. Afterwards, if he or she were to type in “weather,” advertisements about the weather in Italy would be given, as Google associates the two consecutive keywords together.
Because of all these developments and reservations, Google truly seems to regard behavioral targeting with the utmost care. Unlike the others, they do not seem interested in gleaning too much generalizations and conclusions from the activities of their online users.