We’ve all heard about increasing concerns over how major corporations handle user data but did you know that you can personalize and control the ads you see?

You can make the ads you see more useful or get ads that are specific to you on Google services like Search or YouTube as well as websites and apps that partner with Google to show ads.

Even if you don’t want to adjust your settings, you may be interested in knowing just what your online habits may have revealed about you.

Want to learn how?

You’ll need to access your ad settings either by logging into your Google account here or navigate to directly to the ad settings domain here.

From your Google account, you’ll need to select ‘Data & privacy’ from the panel on the left, and then scroll down to ‘ad settings’ and click ‘ad personalization’.

You will now see the same ad personalization page as you would if you entered the Url directly.

The first thing you see is the option to toggle your Ad Personalization off and on. This is where you decide whether you want to see ads based on what Google understands about you or if you want generic, less relevant ads.

Note that this is not a toggle to turn ads completely on or off, you will see ads either way, but this will make them more relevant.

If you want relevant ads to be shown to you, make sure you toggle the switch to ON. I would not recommend switching it to OFF, as you will primarily be seeing generic ads instead of ads on topics that may interest you.  By turning it off, you also lose the opportunity to customize the ads and be shown ads that you are indeed interested in.


If you’ve kept your ad personalization on, you will see a section named “How your ads are personalized” as shown in the image above.  Yours will most likely not be exactly as shown since every user has different online behaviour but you will see a list of individual categories here. These are the topics Google thinks you might be interested in.  These are based on the personal info you’ve added to your Google Account, data from advertisers that partner with Google, and Google’s estimation of your interests.



This is where you can choose any factor to learn more, update, or turn off your preferences.

Say you’ve been waiting on a major video game release, considering purchasing a home, or was expecting a new baby into your family.

Data about your research on these topics were collected and you were shown ads relating to these searches.

You can turn off these settings after you’ve made your purchase or had your baby as they are no longer relevant.

As much as we find ads to be annoying and intrusive sometimes, ads can be beneficial if the offer is good and personalized.

Who wouldn’t like to see a discount on that trip to Hawaii you’ve been dreaming about for the last two years.

Don’t forget though, even if you turn your personalization settings to OFF, Google will only no longer use your info to personalize your ads.  Ads can still be targeted using info like your location or the content of the website you’re visiting.