Powerhouse search engine Google recently announced it will begin to target ads to web surfers based on their broad browsing history. This newly-named “interest based advertising,” will be launched on a test basis of Google-owned sites before being expanded across the web.
Google is not the first search engine to roll out behavioral advertising. Many of its rivals have already come out with similar programs, including Yahoo! Each company is seeking to make its advertising more relevant and drive up click rates by more closely syncing a user’s interests with the ads they are shown. These new programs make educated guesses of consumer interest based on a broader history of the user’s web movements in order to place more specific ads in front of them.
Behavior advertising is raising privacy concerns as search engines grow more powerful in their data collection methods. Google has addressed these concerns with three key safeguards: consumers can opt out of the program, edit their profile of preferences and click on a button to learn how an ad was pitched to them.