Personalized Google ads

20 Jul

A colleague who’s really into Google AdWords showed me a great example of personalized Google ads. In some cases, Google shows ads that are related to your previous search queries. It even works when all cookies are deleted and you aren’t signed in to your Google account or whatever. The searches must be executed in the same window, however.

Let’s say I’m looking for the weather forecast. When I search for “weather forecast“, I’ll get these results (click to enlarge):

What if the next thing I’m looking for is a “Holiday to Spain“?

Now let’s see what happens to the ads if I enter “weather forecast” in the search box again?

Hmm, the first ad looks really targeted to me. Let’s see if we can get personalized ads on other queries as well.

My girlfriend’s birthday is in a two weeks, and because I’m a really cheap bastard, I’m looking for a “sale” somewhere.


Oh wait, I almost forgot, I need a new “LCD monitor“:

Hmm, back to the search for a birthday present again. Enter “sale“, hit GO:

That’s 3 really targeted ads. Looks like Google’s getting smarter by the minute…

Update 1: Ben Murphy also noticed it and it seems to happen with AdSense ads as well.

Update 2: Google sent SEL a reaction with some more info about this:
“What you’re seeing is that we look at the user’s previous query and see how well it intersects with the current query. If it’s significant, we’ll use it to help targeting on the current query. We simply look at what’s in the referring URL (every time you load a web page, the HTTP header includes your previous URL as the “referrer”).”

31 Responses to “Personalized Google ads”

  1. Ben Murphy July 20, 2007 at 3:26 pm #

    I’ve noticed this too. Ran the same kind of tests over at http://www.benmurphydesign.com/2007/07/13/is-google-adwords-showing-ads-for-previous-searches/

    Good to see the word is getting out.

  2. Adam Sharp July 21, 2007 at 7:27 am #

    Interesting stuff, thanks. It’s crazy to think about the levels of “personalization” Google could achieve if/when they add Doubleclick’s data to theirs.

  3. Erika July 23, 2007 at 7:32 pm #

    This was a good post! I am totally sure Google has a lot to roll out this Fall.

    Keep watching!

  4. Wiep July 23, 2007 at 8:49 pm #

    @Ben: I’ve added your examples to the post as well

    @Adam: Google + Doubleclick + Feedburner + … = …

    @Erika: Thx, I’ll keep watching ;)

  5. Tracey July 24, 2007 at 1:04 pm #

    Personalised search is a great feature – It’s sure to benefit users, google and adwords advertisers alike.

  6. Rodjer July 24, 2007 at 9:08 pm #

    Damn they are indeed getter smarter and smarter.. how long will this take to be fully active ? Btw I see the benefit of it and ofcourse they saw that too ;-)

  7. Matt Ellsworth August 2, 2007 at 3:28 am #

    WOW – thats crazy. No wonder my ads always seem kind of targetted… Think that means that the adsense ads I see on my site are different than the ones that ohers see?

  8. aflossingsvrije January 4, 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    I have already seen this is action. They tryed it for some time, but now i have the feeling it is permanent ? Anyone agrees with me ?

  9. geld lenen February 10, 2008 at 12:25 pm #

    Well well… this is not only in searching if you ask me. When I visit i.e. a site about loans the next adds on other pages (Google AdSense) are still about that. Strange but true.

    Anyone else recognizes this?

  10. Geoserv April 19, 2008 at 1:52 am #

    STUMBLED!

    Very cool.

    VOTED for you at:
    http://www.newsdots.com/industrynews/personalized-google-ads-wiep-net/

  11. Richard November 14, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    wow i had no idea it did that. Makes sence really, clever system google uses there.

  12. Jasper November 23, 2008 at 2:00 pm #

    Good to use for marketing, but for the user also a lot of waste. Shows very much not related websites too, with a header wich do suggest that the website sell the stuff what you are looking for. greetz, V

  13. A. Kling March 26, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    Interesting. Had not noticed it.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Ben Murphy Design - July 20, 2007

    Looks like other people are seeing the session oriented personalized ads…

    Just found this on sphinn : http://wiep.net/talk/ads/personalized-google-ads/ – another example with the same kind of writeup I did last week – pretty obvious they’re rolling this out as a new feature now. Anybody else get a chance to try this ye…

  2. Personalized Google Ads » pietervangils.com - July 20, 2007

    […] In my opinion the sponsored results are getting better with features like this. We’re still discussing what we can do with this kind of personalized search. I don’t think there’s a way we can influence it. You can read the complete post at Wiep his blog. […]

  3. Gepersonaliseerde Google Adwords advertenties? | EdWords.nl Zoekmachine Marketing Weblog - July 23, 2007

    […] Google AdWords blijft daarbij niet buiten beschouwing. Zo kwam ik op via het engelstalige weblog van Wiep Knol een testje tegen wat laat zien dat voorgaande zoekopdrachten de toekomstige advertenties […]

  4. Anuncios de Google Search más personalizados que nunca. | NengLog - July 24, 2007

    […] post muy interesante acerca de Google Personalized Ads, muestra cómo Google está comenzando a cruzar información a la […]

  5. Sayu SEM Blog - July 24, 2007

    Personalised Google Adwords Ads…

    Google have started to put personalised search into practice on the paid search listings. This means Google will also take a users previous search query into account when displaying ads….

  6. This and That - July 24, 2007

    […] es findet sich dort eine “Spain”-AdWords-Anzeige. Details und Screenshots finden sich hier. Barry Schwartz hat bei Google nachgefragt und diese Antwort erhalten: What you’re seeing is […]

  7. links for 2007-07-24 - July 25, 2007

    […] Personalized Google ads seems to be based on http referer, not on search history identified via cookies (intra-session search history : this example is a non-authenticated user) – so not really personalised (tags: google adwords personalisation keywords adsense http-referer) […]

  8. » Personalized Google Ads » Zoekmachine Marketing Blog - July 25, 2007

    […] het van de geruchten rond het gepersonaliseerde zoeken van Google. Op de persoonlijke weblog van Wiep Knol is een leuk experimentje uitgewerkt. Aan de hand van je zoekopdrachten worden gepersonaliseerde […]

  9. This Week In SEO - 7/27/07 - TheVanBlog - July 28, 2007

    […] Personalized Google ads […]

  10. Personalized AdWords: Google Ads You See Influenced By Previous Searches | Seo Alchemist - July 28, 2007

    […] Personalized Google ads from Wiep illustrates how Google is personalizing ads for people based on their previous search query. […]

  11. michaelzimmer.org » Archives » Open Questions on Wikia Search, Advertising, and User Privacy - July 30, 2007

    […] Hilton” it is a safe guess that I’m looking for a hotel, and the celebrity (similar tracking of immediately-previous search strings by way of the referer field is already happening). Wales […]

  12. Google Feeling "Double-Lucky" on Mobile - August 1, 2007

    […] ClickZ reports of two "highly observant search bloggers" who've noticed what appears to be behavioral targeting from Google.] Technorati Tags: […]

  13. » Google Reader Audio/Video Popouts, Google Earth Night Layer, Personalized Google Ads, Click-To-Call Dead, Beat The Googol Conglomerate » InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel - August 7, 2007

    […] Google has started doing a smart thing, personalizing ads based on your recent behavior. That means that when you run a search, Google will see how it relates to your immediate recent searches, and if it finds a connection, it will present ads based on that. That means Google is usingsome intelligence and providing a unique set of ads on Google search based on your activity, different ads than anyone else would see. Pretty cool. […]

  14. Conversational Marketing & The Online Branded Advertising Experience at adsense 无聊的赚钱 - August 7, 2007

    […] targeted ads. Google claims they are against the idea of behavioral targeting, but already use it, displaying ads based on past searches. Both Microsoft and Google have bought in game advertising targeting companies as […]

  15. Personalisation of Adwords Ads - September 25, 2007

    […] bit of digging and I came across a similar observation in wiep.net. The story was picked up by Search Engine Land who received this explanation from Google. What […]

  16. Google AdWords: Broad Match und die Folgen | Angelink yourposition Suchmaschinenmarketing - September 22, 2008

    […] Der komplexeste Fall; seitens Google ist er hier dokumentiert, eine längere Betrachtung liefert Wiep.Net. Bekannt ist der Mechanismus kaum. Aber tatsächlich berücksichtigt Google beim Ausliefern der […]

  17. Google’s Over Personalization | SEO Blog | Search and Social - November 17, 2008

    […] way back to mid-2007. WebmasterWorld first noted it on April 24, 2007. Sphinn had a story post on Google Personalization in July 2007, but even that didn’t get a whole lot of attention from the SEO community. It was […]

  18. Google personaliseert AdWords resultaten - Onetomarket - December 9, 2008

    […] blogger Wiep schreef afgelopen week over Google’s AdWords dat deze nu gesponsorde zoekresultaten nu personaliseert en aanpast aan het zoekgedrag van de bezoeker. Het werkt zelfs wanneer cookies gewist worden en de […]