Friday, July 6, 2012

Stop AdSense showing you the ads you hate the most

A year ago, I planned a trip to New Zealand. I Googled "NZ camper vans" and similar things a few times, found a company and had a great trip (thanks, Jucy Vans)

For about three months after I got back, Google remembered that I'd looked for this and kept showing me ads from other van-hire companies. Not only were they irrelevant (since I wasn't looking for a hire-van anymore), they really reminded me that I in the office on the other side of the world in wintertime, instead of on the beach in the sun at home. This didn't exactly generate warm-fuzzy feelings towards the advertiser (NZ Van Hire, I hate you with a passion .. and you didn't even do anything!)

This was a lose-lose-lose-lost situation:

  • The advertiser was wasting ad-impressions showing me ads even though I was no longer in the market to hire a camper-van. And they really annoyed me to the extent that they're unlikly to get my business next time I go home, because I've linked their brand to negaive feelings.
  • The publisher - was wasting valuable screen-space showing me ads that there was no chance I would click - so they lost potential income.
  • Google: there was no chance that I'd click those ads for something I didn't want any more, so they didn't get a cut of the revenue either.

To help address this, Google are introducing a “mute this ad” icon on AdSense ads. This will let us tell Google which ads we don't want to see.

How will it work:

  • A small [x] will be put in the corner of some display ads on the Google Display Network.
  • When a website-visitor clicks the [x], sees confirmation page shows, explaining that the advertisement has been "muted", and linking to the Ad Preferences Manager. And after that, ads from that campaign aren't shown to that person in future.

This is being rolled-out over the next few weeks, and won't be applied to all ads to start with. (And I'm describing it based on Google's description - haven't actually seen it myself yet.)

It's not a guarantee you won’t see that ad again -- the ad could be shown by a different company or in a separate campaign. But it's a start.

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