About Google ads

As you browse the Internet, read your email, and shop online, you’ve probably noticed Google ads on these sites related to what you’re searching for or viewing. For example, your Google Search results page may show text ads similar to a search phrase you just typed; or, your favorite blog may show interactive ads related to the content on the page. Google ads can also appear on Gmail, Google Earth, and Google Maps.

So, why do we show ads and why might you see particular ads?

In this article

  • Why ads
  • Why you may see particular ads

Why ads

  • Keep Google free. Ads help support many of Google’s products like Google Search, Maps, and Gmail to name a few.
  • Help you find products and services. We try to make ads as useful as possible – and many can help you research and shop better online.
  • Help fund the websites you visit. Through programs like AdSense, millions of websites earn money to keep the lights on and pay staff - by displaying ads.

Why you may see particular ads

You may see Google ads on Google Search and related products, Gmail, and sites across the web.

Search ad
Search ad
Gmail ad
Gmail ad
Display ad
Display ad

Video ad

On Google Search

You may see text ads on Google Search results pages and other Google products such as Google Maps. The ads you see may be based on what you searched for, your location, and the time of day. Depending on settings you've chosen, here are some factors that also determine the ads you see:

  • Previous search activity related to your current search
  • Google Web History and the settings in your Ad Settings
  • Websites you’ve visited that belong to businesses that advertise with Google
  • Non-personally identifying information in your Google account, like your age and gender
  • Previous interactions with Google’s ads, advertising services, or search results


You recently clicked on a search result for a kayaking website, or you recently visited that website. Later, when you search for “vacations,” you might see a personalized ad for a vacation destination where you can kayak.

On Gmail

You may see text or image ads in Gmail as you read your messages. The ads you see may be based on many of the same factors as ads in Google Search as well as additional factors like the messages in your mailbox.


You’ve recently received lots of messages about photography and cameras. In Gmail, you may see an ad with a deal from a local camera store.


Ad matching in Gmail is fully automated; no humans read your email to show you ads.

On YouTube and sites across the web

You may see ads in a variety of formats (text, image, video) on YouTube as well as on sites and apps that partner with Google, also known as the Google Display Network. The ads you see may be based on the content of the site you’re viewing and your recent geographic location, among other factors. Depending on settings you've chosen, here are some factors that also determine which ads you see:

  • Types of websites you visit, and mobile apps you have on your device
  • The DoubleClick cookie on your browser and your Ads Settings
  • Websites and apps you’ve visited that belong to businesses that advertise with Google
  • Previous interactions with Google’s ads, Google sites, or advertising services
  • Your Google profile, including YouTube and Google+ activity


You enjoy visiting websites and blogs about gardening. You may see ads related to this interest on gardening and non-gardening sites as you browse the web.

Ads on Google products and services using data shared by partners

You may see ads on Google products and services, including Search, Gmail, and YouTube, based on information, such as your email address that you provided to advertisers and the advertisers then shared with Google. As a reminder, we won't combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information (PII) unless we have your opt-in consent.


You gave your Gmail address to a major department store that advertises with Google, when you purchased an item from the store. The advertiser then shared with Google that your email address is in its customer database. When you log in to Google Search or YouTube with that Gmail address, you might see a personalized ad from that department store.

You can opt out of personalized ads by going to your Ads Settings and turning off “Ads based on your interests.”

Was this article helpful?