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Old 06-10-2008   #1
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Jerry Nordstrom
 
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Google Behavioral Targeting?

As far as I knew Google's PPC was strictly KW search based, then an odd thing happened yesterday.

Without going to Google I had visited Fry's, Circuit City, HP.com and Best Buy looking for a PC for a family member. After some research on these sites I decided I wanted to look at some comparison engines. I opened up a new browser window and went to Google, I did a search for "Comparison engines".

My results were very interesting.

Instead of a generic list of comparison engines touting to find the best prices for all products all the advertisements were related to PCs! Specifically HP PC's! I had not done a search on Google at any time for PCs, or on their shopping site.

Is Google using behavioral targeting already? I had heard there were announcements that this would happen with the acquisition of DoubleClick, but I have had no notice that it was in practice?

If it is being tested, how does this type of advertising effect the KW advertisements that are competing with it?

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Old 06-10-2008   #2
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

Yes, Google has been doing this for some time. Delete browser cache, history and cookies to get a "clean" (i.e. non behavioral) result. The difference can sometimes be quite striking.

Last edited by abbottsys : 06-10-2008 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 06-10-2008   #3
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

How long have they been doing this? When did you get officially informed of this?

How did they announce it?

Did the TOS change?

Who has access to this behavioral targeting? DoubleClick customers?

How has this impacted our KW based targeting and bidding?

This is a fundamental shift in their model as these ads are competing directly for the space used by PPC. This would impact relevance, CTR and thus CPC bids. It would be different if it were ad placement and the competition was not direct.

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Old 06-10-2008   #4
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

I don't recall ever seeing an official notice of this. I just assumed it was kinda experimental. I've been aware of it for a while.. don't remember exactly.. at least 6 months, maybe 12.

I just got used to clearing down my browser whenever I wanted to see non-behavioral results. I guess I got so used to it I kinda forgot about it. I did post here about it a while ago when I first spotted it.
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Old 06-10-2008   #5
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

It's been going on for as long as I've been in SEM (about a year now). You don't need to clear you cookies/etc to get a clean result, just perform the search from google homepage.


Also, it's not exactly optional. Your ads are being behaviorally targeted as long as (correct me if i'm wrong) you're bidding broad match on them. It's not a special group of people who get the privilege of using behavioral targeting. Everyone gets it whether you want it or not.

Last edited by Baylow : 06-10-2008 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 06-11-2008   #6
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

To turn off personalized results add &pws=0 to your string.
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Old 06-11-2008   #7
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

Are you saying, non of your Google searches, in any way, influenced those search results? Did the sites you visited have AdSense on them?
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Old 06-11-2008   #8
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

Rusty,

Correct, I had not gone to Google at all, as a matter of fact I had restarted my computer just before starting my research.

None of the commercial sites had adsense.

I think some here are talking about two different things. Yes, of course Google will modify their results each time you query on their site for related products. This makes sense as if you search again you likely didn’t find what you were looking for or would like more results to choose from. This is not the behavioral targeting I am speaking of. This type of activity is more like search modification/refinement.

The experience that I had was in the course of normal searching activities, so I didn’t track it scientifically step by step. However, it seemed as if Google was able to determine my research on websites unrelated to theirs and deliver product SPECIFIC results on my first search at Google.com. If this is in deed what happened then this is true behavioral targeting. With the acquisition of DoubleClick it made me suspicious if Google was testing out behavioral targeting on PPC and not with display advertising.

Again, I have no proof that this is occurring I am asking if anyone knows if this type of test is in place.


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Old 06-11-2008   #9
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

Wow - very interesting - please keep us posted as I am very curious what the deal is!
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Old 06-12-2008   #10
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Re: Google Behavioral Targeting?

Hmmm,

Very interesting. If that's true it's just another way that Google's insane drive to "relevancy" seems to consistently and ironically make it harder for advertisers to target people who are actually interested in what they're search for.
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