Why this ad?
Google has introduced a 'Why this ad?' button on the PPC ads that appear in search results and on Gmail.
Clicking the button will explain the reason for that particular ad being shown, for example based on the search terms, or targeted to a signed-in user based on their search history. The explanation includes a link to the Ads Preferences Manager. Here, consumers can see the information Google has inferred from their search history, and is using to target its PPC ads. Now, users can change the information Google has gathered about them to produce more relevant ads, or even opt out of personalised PPC ads altogether.
Another new feature is the ability to block a certain PPC advertiser "if you don't find them helpful". Although the block can be activated from a single ad, all other ads linking to that website will then be blocked too; of course, this means other accounts managed by the same advertiser will not be affected. Users can block up to 500 PPC advertisers, but can undo their choices at any time.
The official Inside Adwords blog post hastened to reassure PPC marketers that "the number of blocks you've accumulated does not directly affect calculations of your Quality Score and Ad Rank". However, recent tweaks to the Quality Score algorithm suggest that improving keyword relevance and landing page quality are high on Google's agenda - things that could easily be detected by how many blocks an advertiser receives.
Mark Baker, online marketing manager at theEword, commented: "Google's biggest challenge is striking a balance between pleasing consumers with transparency and privacy, and pleasing the advertisers who are the company's main source of revenue. The new option to block PPC advertisers, coupled with the recent decision to censor keyword data in Analytics, would suggest that users are more important to Google at the moment. However, if the 'Why this ad?' button improves the public's awareness of PPC targeting and allows them to filter out ineffective ads, it could be a good thing in the long run."