What Could Google’s New Privacy Policy Mean for PPC? | White.net

What Could Google’s New Privacy Policy Mean for PPC?

By Tamsin Mehew / January 26, 2012

Earlier in the week Google announced changes to its privacy policies. The main changes are that:

  1. Now nearly all Google products are covered by one privacy policy.
  2. Information you give Google’s various different services can be combined.

Google still promises not to sell personal data, but to only share aggregated, non-personally identifiable information. It hasn’t announced that it’s collecting information it wasn’t before, just that it’s combining what it has differently. You can preview the new policy here.

According to Forbes, combining information between Google services has been allowed by the privacy policies since 2005. But this didn’t stop the FTC complaining of privacy policy violations when Google used data from Gmail accounts when launching Google Buzz in 2010 – Google’s policy at the time also said “If we use this [personal] information in a manner different than the purpose for which it was collected, then we will ask for your consent prior to such use.” The new policy instead says “We will ask for your consent before using information for a purpose other than those that are set out in this Privacy Policy.” Still, the FTC complaint may be a factor in why Google is trying to be very clear to its users about what it’s doing with their data, as it starts to treat all of its products as parts of a single unified service.

And now, some speculation on what this may or may not mean for PPC and SEO:

  • Interest-based targeting may improve. Currently Google uses DoubleClick cookies to place users into interest categories based on the sites they visit – you can see what Google thinks you like here. The changes mean Google could infer interests from searches or Google+ activity as well, which should improve accuracy.
  • Demographics targeting might be available more widely. Currently targeting by age-group and gender is only an option on sites where users supply that information. But Google’s demographic information (from YouTube or Google+ accounts) could be used for targeting on other sites as well.
  • New ways of targeting Display Network advertising may appear. For example it could be possible to target people based on what Google Products they use – advertise Analytics training to Analytics users,  say, or push Google+ users to circle your Google+ page.
  • New ways of targeting Google Search advertising may appear. AdCenter already allows targeting based on age-group and gender when advertising on Search: Google could do the same.
  • There will be even more changes to the SERPs – Google’s announcement says the change will let them “better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you’re searching for”. But perhaps it will also add more than help with disambiguation, adding to the personalisation of the SERPs we’re already seeing with Search Plus Your World.

Have you any idea what Google is (or could be) planning? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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