How to Change Your Google Ad Preferences in My Ad CenterReading Time: 3 minutes
While we all know Google displays ads across the web, you can actually change your ad preferences. Here’s how to, using Google’s My Ad Center.
It’s not exactly news that Google knows a lot about you, and uses that data to show you ads. But as privacy becomes an increasingly important topic in the tech industry, many users want the ability to control what kind of ads they see.
Google’s answer? My Ad Center, an all-in-one ad personalization hub. In this article, let’s see what it is, how it works, and how you can use it to manage your ad preferences online.
What Is Google’s My Ad Center and How Does It Work?
Before we see how you can use My Ad Center to customize your ad preferences, let’s look at how Google collects and uses your data to show you ads across various Google products.
Given ads are a large part of the company, Google wants to show you personalized results and ads. It does that by learning as much about you as possible using the info in your Google account. This includes your age, gender, location, search history, YouTube history, relationship status, and more.
This data is used to create your advertising ID, and you can access it too. Alongside other revelations at Google I/O 2022, the company announced My Ad Center, a place where you can personalize your ad preferences to see more or less ads of a category.
The idea behind My Ad Center is simple: instead of having Google guess what you like and potentially get it wrong and show you irrelevant ads, you can just tell Google directly what you like and see ads that will be actually useful. It’s an initiative to make your relationship with Google more transparent, and give you control over how your data gets used.
How to Change Your Google Ad Preferences on My Ad Center
Follow these steps to use My Ad Center to change your Google ad preferences:
- Go to My Ad Center and make sure Personalized ads are enabled. If not, you won’t be able to set custom ad preferences.
- The first section is Ad topics for you. Here, you’ll see a variety of ad categories that Google has selected for you based on your recent ads and internet activity such as Gaming, Investing, Fitness, and more. To see fewer or more ads from a particular category, tap the – or + button on it, respectively.
- The second section is Brands for you. Here, you’ll see a range of brands that Google thinks you might be interested in. Similar to the last point, tap the – or + button to see fewer or more ads from a particular brand.
- The third section is Your recent ads. Here, you can review the ads that you’ve recently seen on Google products such as Search, YouTube, or Discover, and judge whether they are of interest to you.
- For a more in-depth look, go to the Customize Ads menu from the side panel. Here, you can sort topics and brands based on name, most recent, and most seen. You can also filter them to see what you’ve chosen to see fewer or more ads from.
- Certain topics such as Dating, Gambling, Pregnancy, and Weight loss are considered sensitive. Go to the Sensitive tab and toggle them off if you want to see fewer ads about these topics.
- To amend the data Google has collected about you, go to the Manage Privacy menu. Here, you can verify the accuracy of categories such as Relationships, Household Income, Education, and more. You can also turn off any of these categories entirely.
- Under Activity used to personalize ads, you can choose whether you want your web activity, YouTube history, and location history to be used to show you personalized ads.
- To see all the changes you made to your ad preferences, click My Activity at the bottom of the page.
My Ad Center is currently only accessible via the website, but we’re hoping that it will come integrated into Android 14, so that more people can use the platform.
See More Relevant Ads on Google
Google clearly has a lot of data on you, but not all of it is accurate. The guesswork that it does to determine things about you based on your activity and usage can be the cause of you seeing inappropriate and irrelevant ads. If you want to see more relevant ads, My Ad Center is a great tool.
However, you should not forget that revealing your likes and preferences can also subject you to greater degrees of tracking. You might even start seeing ads that are so personalized that they feel threatening or predatory. To safeguard yourself from the same, you should learn the ways you can stop your phone from tracking you.