How to Change Google Ad Settings

Change Google Ad Settings

How Do I Turn Off Ad Personalization?

Google Ad personalization is a setting in your account that tells Google that it can use your behavior and interest data as well as other demographic information to serve you with relevant advertisements that are customized for you. Google tracks your activity on Chrome as well as other Google properties and aggregates that data along with that of other internet users. The data is anonymized and sold to advertisers who in then turn choose groups of people they’d like to show adverts to.

This practice is not unique to Google. Search engines like Bing do it as well to generate revenue. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest also collect and use aggregated, anonymized user data to sell advertisements on their platforms. The sites even track your activity across other websites sites if you allow them too. This extensive data collection is at the heart of the data privacy issues that Facebook has been in the spotlight since the Cambridge Analytica scandal blew up on them last year.

What is Ad Personalization?

Google collects data about your behavior from all their properties. These Google owned properties include your queries on Google.com searches, what you search for and watch on YouTube, places you visit using Google Maps, websites you visit using Chrome, the contents of your Gmail, Google Hangouts use, what you download from the Play Store, Google photos activity, Google calendar entries, your shopping habits, and of course other adverts you click on. Google also collects data about your behavior and preferences from third-party websites and apps that partner with Google. This includes any website or app that shows Google AdWords ads.

Ad Personalization Google Ad Settings

If you are logged into a Google account using another browser, then your data is harvested from that as well. For example, I use Firefox we browser, but I am frequently logged into my Gmail account from Firefox. Google knows everything about my purchases. In fact, my entire Christmas shopping is recorded. Advertisers want to target their advertisement in front of people who are likely to buy from them. Your data is used to make the ads you see more relevant to you with advertisements that match your interests. For example, if you are a person who shops for high heeled shoes, then with the personalization you may be served advertisements from competitors to the shoe brand you buy. If you travel for work often, then you might see advertisements for travel-related products and services.

How Do I Stop The Ads On Google?

Unfortunately, you cannot block all advertisements while you are on Google properties or partners sites. This is one of Google’s largest source of revenue. That’s why they offer all of those free apps. Your data is rather valuable and it is for sale.

You can, however, turn off ad personalization. If you turn off personalization, Google AdWords ads will still use info like your general location data or the content of the website you are currently visiting. This will not affect what ads you see on other ad networks like Bing or Facebook. They both have their own sets of data they’ve collected on you.

Google Ad Personalization
Google Ad Personalization

For example, I kept seeing the same boring advert for Grammarly. Every time I watched a YouTube video, that was the only ad I was served. It is annoying because I already use Grammarly and I was still seeing the same advertisement ten times each day. I finally became fed up and went into Google and adjusted some of my ad personalization settings. I removed business as one of my interests. The did not work for me and I was still seeing the advertisement. Grammarly was using something else about my demographics to target me with their repetitive advertisement. One would think they would remarket me a with a variation from time-to-time to head of banner blindness. So, I decided to turn off ad personalization completely to stop the repetition.

How Do I Find My Google Ad Preferences?

Google controls the advertisements you see. You can change your Google ad settings, but you cannot stop ads completely unless you use something like an ad blocker. If you go to your ad personalization settings, then you can remove certain interests and behaviors that should alter what advertisements you are served. You can also opt out of ad personalization altogether.

How To Turn Off Google Ads Personalization

To control the Google ads you see, go to your Google Account and log in.

  • Go to your Google Account
  • On the left navigation panel, click Data & personalization
  • Scroll down to the Ad personalization panel
  • Select ad settings
  • Turn on Ad Personalization off

If you want to leave ad personalization on, then you can also go to the How your ads are personalized section. From there you can edit your personal information (like age and gender) and interests.