Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Whats wrong with Google's Advertising Logic?

I have been observing a funny trend with Google's Ads over the last few months. Funnily enough, Google shows me Ads to sites I have already visited or are of no direct use to me. I had thought of writing on this sometime back, but had let it go, but was reminded of it today, when I was shown an ad for a 4 Part Video Series from Pentaho, when I was already on that page on another tab of my Chrome browser.

Another example is of  a hosting service called iPage. While I was searching for a cheap hosting services, it never showed up. I found this in a comparison site where it had really good reviews. But once I signed up for hosting from them, I was showered with ads for iPage. It was there on YouTube, it was there on sites I visited, it was almost everywhere that supported Google Ads and kept showing for the duration that I visited regularly for various settings. After I stopped visiting their site, the Ads stopped appearing. This makes me wonder, is the purpose of Ads to show visitors what they already know about or is it to show new stuff. It is not like they never show new things, but things that we have already checked out (whether we have accepted it or just ignored it) just happens to be repeated too often.

Another example is of matrimony site ads. My Google profile mentions that I am married, I often posts pics with my wife and kid, but Google insists that I watch ads for matrimony sites constantly after every 15 minutes on a 1 hour YouTube video. Worst thing, there is no option to opt out of a particular ad or to mention stuff you definitely would not be interested in. In the case of this matrimony site, curiously enough it was there in my Chrome favorites.

If the ads that Google show are mostly pay-per-view ads, then it really impacts the earnings that an AdSense Publisher will get, because why would people click on ads to services they already use? Also makes me wonder if these were based on the charges paid to Google. For example, I used to often see Hostgator and GoDaddy advertisements, both of which are good services, though pricier than iPage. I do not have comparison for the matrimony sites of Pentaho though.

Has anyone else found similar issues with Google Ads? What other explanations could be used for these, other than that their over-ambitious Data-Scientists came up with a wrong logic?

*Disclaimer: I get commissions if you click on the links for iPage or HostGator and buy hosting packages from them.