Google Knows More About You Than You Think It Does!

May 10 / 2014 Comments
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Everyday I'm surprised of talking to people and noticing that they don't clearly see that Google is simply the biggest internet marketing company today, so I decided to share with you some information about Google and how you can see what Google knows about you and how it classifies you and your interests. It has the biggest online reach, and its network is known as the Google Display Network.

Google: The online media monopoly

"The Google Display Network reaches 92% of all Internet users in the U.S." (taken from Targeting Tools - Display Network - Google Ads)

One of the ways that advertisers can target their audience on the Google Display Network, is by targeting their Interests & Demographic Data.

Facebook are trying to compete with this offering by also letting advertisers target people on Facebook, using their Interests & Demographics as well.

However, even though it doesn't seem so at first glance, Google knows more about your interests than Facebook does.

Google vs Facebook

The only data that Facebook has about you is the data that you have put in effort to provide. This means that a lot of data about you is lost to Facebook. And some of them are also unlikely for Facebook to obtain. For example, it is unlikely that you would put in the effort to "Like" all the car brands that you really like. All the interest & demographic data of Facebook users are stored inside your Facebook account.

On the other hand, Google collects all the information about you based on the sites that you visit (on the Google Display Network), the searches you perform (on the Google Search Network) and the videos you watch (on Youtube & video partner sites). All the interest & demographic data that Google collects are stored and matched with a cookie (DoubleClick cookie) assigned to your browser. So even though Google knows about your activity, it cannot track it to you personally or identify you, it can only identify it with your browser.

Visitor Profiles

Seen that way, Google actually builds a profile for every device/browser around the world, and has the biggest database of interests & demographics in the world, and is actually building profiles for nearly all internet users, except that in their case, they're doing it automatically and without any effort needed from the user, as he surfs the web and uses the internet.

For example, consider people browsing the car section in classifieds sites and are looking mostly at Chevrolet cars; Google will tag their cookie under 2 interest categories: "Autos & Vehicles - Vehicle Shopping" and "Autos & Vehicles - Vehicle Brands - Chevrolet". Using that information, a Chevrolet dealer could target his local customers, thus showing ads (text/images/video) for people who are currently shopping for a vehicle and are interested in Chevrolets.

There is currently no way for Facebook to know that information about its users, at least not in the scale that Google can.

Google Ads Preferences: The cool part!

Using the Google Ads Preferences, you can see the profile that Google has built about your cookie, in terms of interests & demographics.

Let's take a look at the profile Google has built about my MacBook Pro.
Here are my interests based on Google's Data:

And here are my Demographic Data:

That information is very accurate. As you can see, I've been looking to buy a Nissan car. I'm interested in the web. I like Hip-Hop and i'm into Specialty Foods. I also like computers and whatever's related to web marketing & analysis. I'm a young guy that speaks English & French. That profile is a pretty accurate one if you ask me.

One neat trick is that i can "Remove" interests from this list and even add to it, so that I can control what kind of ads get targeted at me.

Want to see your Google Ads Profile?

You can see your Google Profile at any time by visiting this link in your browser: Ads Preferences Manager ( and clicking on "Edit" near your interests or languages. If you don't see any data then perhaps you don't browse that much on that browser, or you had cleared your cookies.

As a side note, there are ways to estimate entire markets using the interest & demographic data from Google. I will show you how to do that in a later article. For example we can answer questions like: "How many people in San Francisco are currently looking to rent a Condo?" or "How many people in Montreal love italian food?"

Have fun checking out your Google Ads Preferences and telling your friends about this great link:

Have questions about internet marketing?

I'm a seasoned internet marketer and certified in many digital disciplines from the Google Conversion University. If you have any question relating to Google or any related internet marketing question, you can post it in the comment section below and i'll happily reply to your comment with the best answer I can give.

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