The ROI Revolution Blog

Google Privacy Policy Overhaul: Reflections for Online Marketers

January 25, 2012

privacy defnGoogle's upcoming privacy policy overhaul addresses two themes:

1. Providing users with more intuitive functionality across Google properties (Search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.), and

2. Providing advertisers with more relevant targeting options across Google properties.

The key distinction here is "across Google properties."

While the most privacy-conscious users may be concerned with the changes, for advertisers there is nothing but upside. Google's updated privacy policy opens the door to more cost-effective targeting to your most responsive traffic across Google properties and devices.

Google will be able to provide advertisers with a richer picture of their users for advertisers to target with remarketing, interest category targeting, and demographic targeting.  (Users can see how Google defines their individual interest & demographic buckets in their Ads Preference Manager.)

As an example use-case, let's say someone visits your website on their mobile phone and adds something to their shopping cart. They abandon their cart and leave your site, but not before you add them to a remarketing list you're building within AdWords. Assuming the user is logged into their Google profile, you'd be able to target them with your remarketing ads when they're browsing the web at home from their iPad later that night. Furthermore, you may find that users interested in certain topics are more responsive to your remarketing ads. Google's new policy will enable them to boost the accuracy of the interest category inferences for their users.

Google's updated privacy policy may leave room for them to go further than just associating more data with users logged-in to their Google account... Google states that they may store "cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account." This language opens up the possibility that Google could in the future use your Google profile data to deliver ads even if the user has since logged out of their Google account. The cookie would persist on the computer which ties it to a Google account. Currently, less than 10% of traffic from Google searches are from logged-in Google users. A cookie-based profile link would move this number up substantially.

Expect to see more Google advertiser tools rolled out over the next few quarters that make use of the cross-property and cross-device advertising functionality promised by this policy.

Take the next step. Ecommerce retailers spending at least $500/mo. in AdWords qualify for a free 20-minute Google AdWords account review.

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