Personally, I love that technology tracks my every move so that it can improve my life. Watching the Jetsons growing up, had a big impact on me and I am always talking about how cool it will be when we live in layers. In full disclosure, I also am a marketer who leverages this type of advertising to help my clients generate incredible results for their businesses and their customers. While I may have lots of rules and ethics that I adhere to, not all marketers or advertisers play fair. Some will ambush you with messages that you frankly have no interest in receiving. If you are over some of the messages or just don’t understand how in the heck you have men’s underwear showing up all over the sites you visit, this article demonstrates how you can manage your ad experiences and the data Google collects about you.
The Google Ad Experience & Ad Blocking
Before we get in too deep, let’s make sure everyone knows what a “Google Ad” looks like. In the example below, you will see a red box drawn around the ad on the right with the Porsche. It has a blue arrow and a blue ‘x’ in the top right corner. This is a Google Ad. The arrow is the AdChoices or Ads by Google symbol. If you don’t like the ads that you are seeing, if they have a blue ‘x,’ you can start by pressing the ‘x’ and telling Google you don’t want to see the ad anymore.
Reviewing Your Google Activity & Customizing Your Settings
Go to myactivity.google.com. If you are not logged into Chrome, you will need to sign in with your Gmail to see your history.
Here are the activity controls that you can manage:
- Web & App Activity
- YouTube History
- Location History
- Google Ad Settings
- Comments on YouTube videos
- Comments on YouTube Community posts
- YouTube likes and dislikes
- YouTube purchase activity
- Google Word Coach
- Place Answers
- Your interests and notifications
- Call & Message information
- Google Play library
- News Preferences
- Purchases and reservations
- Gboard learned works
- Google app podcast subscriptions
- Google survey answers
- Data archive history
- Download your data from My Activity
- Data shared for research
- Chrome history
- Product price tracking
- Google Shopping order activity
- Google Assistant routines
- Voice and Face Match enrollment
- Crisis Response User Reports
- Google Play Books feedback
- Stadia Store
Use SafeSearch Filters to Block Inappropriate and Explicit Content
You can customize your search settings with SafeSearch filters. This helps block inappropriate or explicit images from your Google Search results. If you have kids, you can choose “Lock SafeSearch.” If you like to view more search results at a time, you set your preferences to view up to 50 on the first page!
Don’t Restrict Everything, Embrace the Tracking
If you restrict your settings too much, Google won’t be able to enhance your experience, ’cause let’s face it, we need some enhancing. We don’t know everything or everyone. And sometimes, we like the suggestions Google makes. We might find new things to do, places to go, or things to buy. If you want to like even more suggestions and improve your ad experiences further, it’s up to you to make sure you are helping the technology deliver you the best ads. We can’t nor should we want technology to completely think for us. We create this stuff and if we embrace the tracking and help add better information, we all win.