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Google is giving users greater control over what ads they see

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Consumers on Google will soon get more control over the advertising they see. This via the new My Ad Center feature which the search-engine giant unveiled its annual I/O Summit event yesterday. 

My Ad Center is supposed to let users like, share or block any ad across selected Google properties. They’ll also be able to find out who paid for the ad, and why they, specifically, were targeted with it.

Google users will be able to dictate:

  • Which brands and topics they like.
  • The amount of personalization they are comfortable with for their ad customization.

These personalization options can be accessed from My Ad Center or within the ad itself.

If consumers use it, My Ad Center will give Google ad data. In exchange users will get more control over ads on Google properties including YouTube, Discover and Search. With third-party data going away, the ability to follow brands will provide critical feedback directly to Google.


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What we know about My Ads Center right now:

Follow brands and topics. All Google users will now have the ability to choose the brands and topics most germane to them that they want to see. This is much different than the Topics targeting within the Privacy Sandbox now being tested, as the inputs are dictated directly by the user. 

An example provided by Google was that a user interested in a hybrid car may choose this as a topic they’d be interested in and would be served ads related to that particular topic. This can also work with specific brands they like.

Personalization and data source controls. My Ad Center is designed to provide a single place where users can limit any/all information used for ad personalization, including age, relationship status, education and demographic data. Users can also limit or opt-out of sensitive ad topics (e.g., gambling, alcohol, dating, weight loss, and pregnancy & parenting).

It also gives consumers control over the data sources used. Users will be able to choose which data sources can be used to personalize ads and which sources should be used across some Google properties (e.g., personalized search, YouTube recommendations). 

Expanded controls within ads. While My Ad Center is nice, let’s be honest, sometimes people just want to make changes immediately when they see an ad. Those folks are in luck. They will be able to make changes or get targeting clarity directly within the ad. The new controls will allow users to like, block or report an ad, while also being able to tune the targeting if they’d like to see more or less of the brand or topic shown.

However, the biggest change for advertisers may be the transparency features included directly within the ad controls. The “About this ad” is being replaced with the new transparency features that show who paid for the ad (using Advertiser Identity Verification) and the account categories used to show the specific ad. This is very different from the “Why this ad” feature. It displayed matching criteria but not who paid for it.


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Not all of Google. At launch My Ad Center will only work for Google search, YouTube and Google Discover and not for the Google Display Network, Gmail or Search Partners (yet). There is also expected to be a second ad settings page, separate from My Ads Center, for sites that partner with Off-Google ads (ie the Google Display Network).

The topics or brand updates inputted into the My Ads Center won’t initially be passed to this new second ad settings page. However, if ad personalization is shut off entirely within My Ads Center that will shut off all personalization across all Google-owned and non-Google-owned properties.

Why we care: This is potentially a win/win for marketers and consumers, as well as a big step up on privacy by Google. The brands and topics to follow could provide marketers with a lot of data about people interested in their products. Interested users will have easy access to who is paying for an ad and why they were targeted (which will also be of interest to competing marketers). They will also have a simple way to shut off ad targeting on Google and many non-Google sites. It will be fascinating to see how many people actually use it when it becomes available.

Read next: 3 challenges of building customer trust in a privacy-focused world


About The Author

Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that provides world-class social media and search marketing services and web & application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 10+ years and specializes in Digital Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts


Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.

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