Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Ads That Follow

While Apple was busy greatly improving their privacy page, Google announced a new advertising product called “Customer Match” that’s pretty creepy. If you aren’t opted out of personalized advertising, you may be familiar with a situation where you visit one site, then visit other sites only to find an ad from that first site tagging along. This is known as “remarketing”, and Google’s new advertising product takes it to the next level:

Customer Match is a new product designed to help you reach your highest-value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail — when it matters most. Customer Match allows you to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns and ads specifically designed to reach your audience.

If you use the same email address on a bunch of sites — as most people probably do — and stay signed into Google, those third-party sites can now target you much more specifically.

Google advertising executive Sridhar Ramaswamy in an on-stage interview at Advertising Week New York:

“The real problem is that ad blockers throw out the baby with the bathwater. They make monetization impossible for a whole slew of people,” he said in an interview with Fast Company managing editor Bob Safian. “We need to recognize, as an industry, that this is something we need to deal with. We need to work together to come up with a definition of what an acceptable ad is and what an acceptable ads program can be.”

These are decidedly unacceptable ads.