Google moves into behavioural targeting

Google is to launch behavioural targeting ads on YouTube and the Google Content Network in a bid to compete with competitors.

The ads, which Google is calling interest-based advertising, will launch in beta and give advertisers the opportunity to draw on Google’s wide reaching network to target users based on their interests.

Google has moved quickly to assure the market that the service will not use information stored within Google Accounts.

In a first for a major company, Google will give users the ability to access and edit the interest categories it has compiled via its Ad Preferences tool, or opt out entirely.

Google will use cookies to track users across its content network and YouTube and serve ads based on assigned categories such as sports enthusiasts or car buyers.

The service will launch in beta in early April with a small number of advertisers in the US and Europe. Google aims to make the service widely available by the end of the year.

A Google statement said: “We think we can make online advertising even more relevant and useful by using additional information about the websites people visit.

“Over time we expect our ability to get the right ad in front of the right person at the right time to improve as we build interest categories with the help of our users and publishers.”

Google’s move into behavioural targeting has been rumoured for some time following Google’s purchase of ad-serving company DoubleClick last year.

But the move could cause further friction with online publishers, who have expressed concerns about handing over user data and inventory to ad networks (nma 5 February).

It comes one week after new media age revealed Google was among a group of key industry players who had partnered with the Internet Advertising Bureau to issue good-practice guidelines and launch consumer education for behavioural targeting in a bid to settle the furore over the practice (nma 5 March).

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