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Google Updates Advertising Features to Give Users More Control

3 MINUTE READ | February 1, 2018

Google Updates Advertising Features to Give Users More Control

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.


In a move to fulfill consumer demands for more control and to elevate the level of user accessibility in response to the cultural conversation around advertising transparency, Google recently announced a few updates to Ads Settings and key user-facing features. Jon Krafcik, Google’s Group Product Manager for Data Privacy and Transparency, outlines how the changes will give users more control over their experience with ads on Google, in apps and on websites.

We don’t anticipate these updates to impact advertisers or increase CPCs. Furthermore, as users opt out of certain ads, this could, in fact, help advertisers avoid spending money on a fruitless impression. These feature improvements are prepping Google for organizational compliance with the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulations. By creating easier ways for users to access their data and control their experience with advertisers, Google is fulfilling some of the more basic transparency requirements established by the GDPR legislation.

Since its release in 2012, “Mute This Ad” has grown in popularity – with Google receiving over 5 billion pieces of feedback from users in 2017 alone. By empowering users with the ability to block ads that interfere with onsite content or lack relevance to the viewer, Google has utilized this type of crowdsourced feedback to improve the experience between advertisers and consumers – removing over 1 million ads from their ad network last year.

To improve the feature’s capabilities, Google has now enabled that, based on a user’s account settings, “Mute This Ad” feedback will update across devices – muting ads on the mobile experience if “Mute This Ad” user feedback is received on desktop. In like manner, the Google team will soon be expanding the feature across platforms – creating even more ways users can control their experience with Google ads.

And speaking of how Google is creating more ways for users to control their data, Google also adjusted the Ads Settings to simplify how users can de-activate their ad personalization settings. By doing this, users can gain a better understanding of the types of reminder ads that have been following around the internet lately.

As Google lays the foundation for compliance, an obvious GDPR-influenced change is easier access to the “download your data” feature on the Google Dashboard. Users can now easily download their data from all Google products, including their search history, contacts, emails, Google Photos, and Google Drive files.

Just as Google modernized the Google Account Dashboard for users to quickly manage their Google data last September, these “Mute This Ad” and Ads Settings improvements now equip consumers with even more control over their personal data. With an easy to use browser tool, YourAdChoices, users can even see the companies that are using their browsing history to serve customized ads to them and control the collection of their web viewing data for “online behavioral” or “interest-based” advertising.

With more data controllers like Facebook and Google rolling out accessibility updates right before GDPR legislation goes into effect, we’ll be keeping a close eye out for how these changes may affect advertisers.

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