In an effort to make Google paid ads “more useful” they’re enforcing a new terms of service agreement with all Google account owners 18 and older. This new set of terms is going to allow Google to use usernames, pictures, and review data on relevant ads.
You can read Google’s exact changes to the terms of service policy on their site here.
For now your likeness will only be shown to people within your circles.
Under the new terms of service, whenever you comment on, follow or +1 a page while logged in with your Google account, that content can then be used alongside relevant ads.
These endorsements will only be visible to the people you originally shared that activity with. Most content will therefore be restricted to a specific circle from Google+, although ratings and reviews posted on Google Play or Google+ Local will be visible to the wider public.
This social endorsement move comes years after Facebook started including similar data in their ad platform. It’s without a doubt a reactionary (albeit potentially useful) response as opposed to innovation from the search giant.
Social proof has proven itself over and over when it comes to improving ad effectiveness. This could be a smart play on Google’s part – no matter how “reactionary” it may be.
When this change rolls out November 11, 2013 do a few searches to review. It may be too early to see examples of the changes but look for them most specifically with music albums and local business reviews. These will most likely be the most “active” verticals to start.
For those of you that wish to opt out of having your likeness and data used for Google’s ads go to the “Shared Endorsement” setting in your Google Account.
What do you think about Google’s changes? Let us know in the comments below.