Personalized and non-personalized ads

EU user consent controls in Ad Manager provide a variety of options for enabling personalized and non-personalized ads. This article details the differences between the two types of ads. Learn more about ads personalization settings in Google's publisher ad tags

Personalized ads

Personalized advertising (formerly known as interest-based advertising) is a powerful tool that improves advertising relevance for users and increases ROI for advertisers. In all our publisher products, we make inferences about a user’s interests based on the sites they visit or the apps they use. This allows advertisers to target their campaigns according to these interests, providing an improved experience for users and advertisers alike. Learn more about our advertiser policies for personalized ads.

Google considers ads to be personalized when they are based on previously collected or historical data to determine or influence ad selection, including a user's previous search queries, activity, visits to sites or apps, demographic information, or location. Specifically, this would include, for example: demographic targeting, interest category targeting, remarketing, targeting Customer Match lists, and targeting audience lists uploaded in Display & Video 360 or Campaign Manager. 

Non-personalized ads (NPA)

Non-personalized ads are ads that are not based on a user’s past behavior. They are targeted using contextual information, including coarse (such as city-level, but not ZIP/postal code) geo-targeting based on current location, and content on the current site or app or current query terms. Google disallows all interest-based audience targeting, including demographic targeting and user list targeting.

Although non-personalized ads don’t use cookies or mobile ad identifiers for ad targeting, they do still use cookies or mobile ad identifiers for frequency capping, aggregated ad reporting, and to combat fraud and abuse. Therefore, you must obtain consent to use cookies or mobile ad identifiers for those purposes where legally required, per the ePrivacy Directive in certain EEA countries.

When a signed-in Google user in the EEA has directly provided Google with age information, and is under the age of consent set by GDPR, Google will only serve non-personalized ads to that user, regardless of the publisher's EU user consent settings within Ad Manager or whether the publisher passes a non-personalized ads signal in the ad tag.

Non-personalized ads for programmatic

When non-personalized ads are served using either the non-personalized ad technology provider controls within Ad Manager publisher controls, or a non-personalized ads signal is passed in the tag, the following happens for programmatic transactions:

"Programmatic transactions" are transactions from Open Auctions, Private Auctions, First Look, Preferred Deals, and Programmatic Guaranteed.
  • Ads that serve do not use information based on the user’s past behavior
  • Google does not record information against user identifiers for the purposes of personalized ads measurement or targeting
  • No ads serve using interest-based audience targeting (including demographic targeting and remarketing list targeting)
  • Ads served via GDN and Display & Video 360 will only use contextual and placement targeting. These ads may use IP address for very coarse level geo-targeting (city-level) and to prevent invalid activity. These ads also use cookies and/or IDFA and AdIDs for frequency capping, aggregated ad reporting, and to combat fraud and abuse.
  • Non-personalized ads will not support third-party buyers or third-party ad tracking for May 25, 2018

Non-personalized ads for non-programmatic

When non-personalized ads are served using the publisher controls or a non-personalized ads signal is passed in the tag, the following happens for non-programmatic line items:

"Non-programmatic line items" are line items that aren't a part of Programmatic Guaranteed or Programmatic Deals in Ad Manager/Ad Exchange/AdSense.
  • Google will offer a solution for publishers to select the line items in their network that are eligible for non-personalized ad serving. Publishers are responsible for selecting the line items that serve, and ensuring they only choose line items that can serve in the absence of user consent to personalized ads
  • No ads serve using interest-based audience targeting (including demographic targeting and remarketing list targeting)
  • Google does not record information against user identifiers for the purposes of personalized ads measurement or targeting.

Non-personalized ads for yield groups

When non-personalized ads are served using the publisher controls or a non-personalized ads signal is passed in the tag, the following happens for yield groups using Exchange Bidding and mediation for mobile apps:

  • Exchange Bidding is disabled and no callouts are made to Exchange Bidders 
  • Mediation for Mobile Apps is not disabled

Common features impacted by non-personalized ads serving: 

  • Audience Solutions targeting will not be available for NPA requests
  • Ad Manager mobile carrier targeting will not be available for NPA requests
  • Ad Manager bandwidth targeting will not be available for NPA requests
  • Certain Data Transfer fields, such as UserId, will be unavailable
  • Deals with non-Display & Video 360 buyers will not be able to transact for NPA requests
  • Deals with Display & Video 360 buyers may be impacted if they use third-party pixels or audience targeting for NPA requests

Non-personalized ads changes in reporting

  • For non-personalized ad traffic, certain Ad Manager Data Transfer fields will be blank, including UserId, AudienceSegmentIds, Bandwidth, and MobileCarrier.
  • Accuracy of Ad Manager Reach Reporting may be impacted.
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