Personalized ads help marketers appeal to people in their target audiences, but such targeting could also have unintended consequences, especially when consumers are dealing with difficult circumstances.
An expansion of an earlier update
These latest updates expand upon those by adding parenting, pregnancy, weight loss, and dating to the sensitive topics list.
How might this update affect advertisers and Google users?
Statistics indicate most for-profit companies spend somewhere between 9%-12% on advertising, but the percentage can be more than triple that in some cases.
It’s more than likely this Google update won’t cut into marketing plans. After all, if a person finds a company’s industry or ad topics triggering, they’re not part of its target audience anyway.
However, as you almost certainly know from experience, unexpected life changes can cause certain topics to become distressing. Perhaps you recently had a miscarriage.
Going through such a traumatic event requires taking time to grieve, so it would certainly be understandable if you wanted to limit ads about pregnancy and parenting for a while. These new Google updates make that possible.
As you can probably imagine, this is not the first time Google has enacted ad-based limitations.
In 2019, it banned political advertisers from targeting people based on their voting history or political affiliation. Instead, the targeting only extended to the individual’s postal code.
However, in that case, the limitations related to what advertisers must do rather than giving users themselves more control.
Part of a larger trend?
Google is not the only major tech company that has recently announced increased customization for the content users see.
Last year, Snapchat allowed users in the United Kingdom to turn off gambling advertisements.
Twitter also rolled out a feature that lets users specify that particular tweets they publish contain sensitive content or spoilers. It’s up to the people who come across those posts to decide if they want to see them.