Up to now I reckon that one of Facebook’s biggest advantages over Google when it came to PPC advertising was the fact that with Facebook you could really narrow your campaign down your target audience. If you wanted single men over 40 who lived in the South East of England then you could literally specify that and your wish was Facebook’s command.
Well – we may be about to see a big end to that advantage as Google rolls out the ability to target ads to users by interest — based on their previous browsing activity, or behaviour — to all of its advertisers. The company first announced a beta test of this capability more than two years ago, back in 2009, and it has slowly been introducing it to larger groups over time. Back then they said – “Google today is launching a form of behavioral targeting advertising named Interest-Based Advertising. Interest-Based Advertising allows advertisers to deliver ads based on hundreds of interest categories and previous interactions with those users. The beta is opening to select advertisers at first but will be expanded in the upcoming months”.
The company says that the full capabilities are available today.
This declaration marks Google’s full entrance into the world of behavioural targeting in AdWords.
The structure looks at the different sorts of pages that a user visits, it then works out how recently and frequently the person visits those sites, and associates that browser cookie with the apposite interest categories. Users can view and edit the categories they’ve been associated with at Google’s Ad Preferences page, and, if they so desire, they can opt out totally.
Advertisers can decide from over 1,000 interest categories. Google says advertisers testing the capability were successful, citing one advertiser increasing brand lift by 40% and a shoe retailer driving 400% more conversions at a lower cost-per-sale. Pricing is on a cost-per-click model with an auction much the same as Google Adwords.