Google ads: Because Google is behind some of the largest web-based services in the industry (YouTube, Waze, and Google Chrome, to name a few) the changes you make to your Google account ad settings will make a major impact on the ads you see overall.
How targeted advertisements work
If you have social media apps on your phone, the odds are you’re logged in to those accounts and they’re monitoring your browsing activity on other sites. Facebook, in particular, is especially skilled at this thanks to Facebook Pixel, a technology that sends messages back to Facebook from sites you’ve visited.
You may also be seeing ads because you fit the company’s target audience or you’ve purchased from the retailer before. But if you’re seeing the exact products in your cart displayed in ads elsewhere, that information was passed along to the social media app via Pixel.
Google is able to put together a pretty extensive list of who you are, where you go, and what you’re into, based on your activity on any of their various services. So if you frequent any of Google’s popular platforms and you’ve never altered the settings, those platforms are constantly learning from you in order to serve up ads specifically for you.
How to edit what data Google uses to create your ads
- Open your Google account profile and select ‘Data & personalization‘ in the main menu.
- Scroll down to the ‘Web & App Activity and disable ads influenced by your activity altogether or pick and choose which activities are included using the checklist.
You’ll also have the option to stop data collection from your location history as well (especially useful for Google Maps users).
To stop your data from influencings your ads altogether, you can scroll down a bit further to the ‘Ad personalization’ settings and deactivate this setting completely.
As consumers, we’ll never be able to totally escape ads, but if you know how they work and how you can influence them, you can get some of your privacy back.