You just broke up with a long-term partner, and have sworn off all things love-related for the foreseeable future — only, Google didn’t get the memo. Ads for engagement rings and honeymoon packages keep popping up on YouTube and in your Gmail inbox. If seeing these ads makes the break-up sting just that much more, you can actually edit your Google ad personalization settings to limit the sensitive ads you see.
Back in December 2020, Google announced it roll out control over ads by giving users the ability to see fewer ads specifically related to gambling or alcohol on YouTube. Google’s new ad sensitivity feature is an expansion of that update. Starting in late April, the setting now allows you to opt out of seeing ads in other potentially triggering categories, like parenting and pregnancy, dating, or weight loss. Per TechCrunch, this affects the ads you get served on YouTube and in your Gmail, as well as ads on third-party sites that are populated by Google, but not the ads that show up in a Google search.
The option to to turn off personalized ads already exists, and when you have it toggled off, you are less likely to get ads for things you regularly search or sign up for. For example, a pet owner might get served ads for things like dog food or new leashes, or other things they often search for. Someone who recently lost their pet might consider turning ad personalization off, so that they don’t see as many ads that are so targeted to them. Opting out of of targeted ads doesn’t keep you from seeing ads, but it can make them less personal.
Here’s how to opt out of specific ad categories, turn personal ads on or off, and edit the profile your Google account has made of you.
How To Turn Off Targeted Ads On Google
Make sure you’re logged into your Google account via Gmail. Tap your avatar on the upper right corner, then tap Manage Your Google Account. Tap Data & Privacy on the left side menu to get an overview of the data you share with Google and your current privacy settings. You’ll see an overview box titled Ad Settings, which will either show ad personalization toggled on or off. Tap the box to open up your full ad settings profile. If your ad personalization is off, you’ll see a snoozing robot, and the option to turn it on. If it’s on, you’ll see an overview of the information Google has from you that it’s using to curate ads they feel might be relevant. You can toggle on or off at anytime.
How To Limit Sensitive Ads On Google
In order to limit sensitive ads, you need to have your personalization turned on. Scroll to the bottom of the Ad Settings page to find Sensitive Ad Categories on YouTube, a featured marked Beta (to show it’s still in its testing stage). There, you can directly tap See Fewer next to each sensitive category. When you tap See Fewer, you’ll get a pop up that lets you know that while you might be see fewer ads specifically related to this topic, you won’t see a reduction in the volume of ads you’re served. The careful wording also suggests that Google isn’t promising you won’t ever see an ad related to this category — you’ll just see fewer.
How To Edit Your Ad Personalization Settings On Google
If your ad personalization is on, you may notice that some of the information isn’t exactly right. Perhaps your age demographic is a few years off, or they’ve pegged you as married and you’ve very much single, or deemed you a homeowner when you’re definitely not. In order to stop getting served ads geared towards someone who better fits your older sister’s profile, you can tap any of these information bubbles to update and correct, or just turn off and delete them from your profile. You can edit or remove these categories at any time.