In early April, sharp-eyed web surfers will start seeing online advertising that has absolutely no relevance to the page they are looking at, but is highly relevant to them. The concept is called “interest-based advertising”, and the meaning one might infer is spot-on.
Google (heck, almost any site or even your ISP) tracks what you do when you interact with the site. All of that is reasonable in the interest of making smarter content choices that make you a happier and repeat visitor.
Google will use their company knowledge about you (which is one reason many believe they purchased DoubleClick) to display an ad on a page that meets your interest. We’re search marketers and an ad agency. We adore this. Some folks may feel the idea is Orwellian.
Friends or those who follow me on social networks know that I am a diehard Washington Redskins fan. In the future, I may reading about the economy on CNN.com and be shown an ad for a Redskins pre-season game that night.
My partner Sara, who likes the Giants for some silly reason, might be on the very same page but be shown an ad for some Photoshop add-on because she is a design whiz.
Google is simply doing what we do for our clients. They’re using their knowledge of who we are to help shape our web experience. You can opt out of the program, you can block tracking cookies and similar devices, but honestly, if you’re going to see an ad, wouldn’t you rather see one that you care about?