You’re being watched: How to turn off ad personalization in your Google account
Your Google account can be customized to fit your personal interests, but that doesn’t mean you have to be spied on while you browse the web. The search giant tracks and stores data about your online activity, including browsing history, location history, demographics, and interests and allows advertisers to use this information to target you with specific ads that match your preferences. But you can turn all of this off quickly and easily with just a few clicks of the mouse. Follow this step-by-step guide from Smashing Magazine to keep advertisers from watching your every move online.
Ad Personalization Explained
Ad personalization is when a company like Facebook or Google uses information they know about you and your online behavior to shape ads that are displayed to you. It’s an effective way for companies to target potential customers and improve the efficiency of their marketing strategy. The information that the companies use is usually collected through cookies, which is data stored on a person’s browser when they visit a site and these cookies are usually deleted as soon as the user closes their web browser (so there’s no long-term damage). Nevertheless, people may still find it uncomfortable that they’re not just viewing any old ads without context – they’re actually viewing tailored content based on data provided by themselves and other users. Here are two ways you can try if you want some relief from targeted ads.
3 Ways to Disable Personalized Ads
- Log into your Gmail account and click on the gear icon on the top right-hand side of the screen. Then, select Settings from the drop-down menu.
- From here, click on Ads Settings.
Option 1 – Opt-out directly from Google
It is possible for some companies to collect data from what you do across the internet and use it when advertising. This can lead to intrusive ads and lower customer satisfaction. If you want a company that won’t collect this type of data, there are opt-outs available for most major advertisers on this list here ____(link)_ ____(link)_ ___(example text). The simplest way to disable personalized ads is by opting out with one of these lists.
Option 2 – Opt out from the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI)
Opting out of the NAI has a negative effect on users’ web experience. However, if you are okay with this trade-off, go ahead and click Opt Out on the Privacy Tool. The tool can be found by clicking on the three horizontal lines in the upper left hand corner of the screen. This will bring up an additional window with an Ads tab along the top. Click on that tab and it will give you an option to opt out of receiving personalized ads from companies that follow NAI guidelines by removing your information from their lists (if there are any). Opting out does not block ads or disable any products or services; it merely removes personally identifiable information about you from these lists.
Option 3 – Opt out from individual Network Members’ sites
Some website might allow you to opt out from their network, but others may not. To address this issue, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has been formed as an industry alliance of sorts for advertisers, publishers and internet users.