Google Rolls Out Behavioral Targeting To All AdWords Advertisers

Google is finally rolling out the ability to target ads to users by interest — based on their previous browsing activity, or behavior — 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. The company says the capabilities are available today.

The announcement marks Google’s full entrance into the world of behavioral targeting in AdWords.

The system looks at the types of pages that a user visits, considering how recently and frequently the person visits those sites, and associates that browser cookie with the appropriate interest categories. Users can view and edit the categories they’ve been associated at Google’s Ad Preferences page, and opt out entirely, if they so desire.

Advertisers can choose 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 railer driving 400% more conversions at a lower cost-per-sale. Pricing is on a cost-per-click model with an auction.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords


About The Author: is Executive Features Editor at Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She’s a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since 1998.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Jonathon Frampton

    Finally! JK, still don’t know if this is one of those keep me private deals or if I am just happy to be able to refine my Adwords efforts???

  • jmb98115

    Great, now I will have to root/jailbreak my phone and add an appropriate entry for all Google ads.

  • AMI

    Really it is about time. Capturing our targets attention is increasingly more difficult. This will help.

  • beatrice baker

    Wonderful news! Increased return on promotional efforts will benefit from Google’s targeting efforts.

  • daveb


    when I look in my adwords accounts I still only see this option if the display network is chosen and not for the search network. I cannot see anything in your article that specifies if that is the case or not. Do yo have any knowledge if this is available for text ads on the search network? Thanks.


  • Ivan Temelkov

    Google has been fooling around with behavioral targeting for quite some time now. I’m actually curious to find out the success rate and ROI on this.

  • Malcolm Rasala

    Morally repugnant. There is something very nasty about a service that wants to snoop on the private actions of a free human being to line its shareholders pockets with ever more money. Is nothing sacred? Hopefully there will be a growing wall of opposition to this ‘money-centred’ myopic little view of the world. To treat ones fellow man with such noxious intent indicates the extraordinarily narrow minds running this morally repugnant intrusion into our private lives. Shocking!!! History will record this with the contempt it deserves

  • Malcolm Rasala


    Do no evil WAS the Google byword we were told. What could be more evil (other than physical cruelty) than feeding minds with specious propaganda they have not freely requested. Its kind of what the communists did to brainwash captured POW’s. Nuts? Think about it long deep and hard. Do you want to propagandized to 24/7 with messages about things you do not want?. What is propaganda otherwise. Surely there has to be some small area of our lives that advertisers have no right to enter?

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide