[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


What you need to know about Google’s new ad policy

Last week you might have received an email from Google outlining changes to its terms of service.

Unlike the majority of such emails, this one contained information pertinent to users and brands about a hot button topic: the use of individuals' images and reviews in advertisements.

Say cheese please

Starting November 11 Google will display its users' face, reviews and recommendations in display advertisements.

This means that if you have a Google+ account and have written a review of a restaurant, your face and review may appear under a display ad when someone searches for that venue. These hybrid ads are being labelled “Shared Endorsements”.

“We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d.

“This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting or following) – and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with,” Google wrote.

Opt out

Using people's images without their consent is a tricky balance, as Instagram discovered when user backlash forced the platform to change its terms that would permit a similar service.

However Google has provided an opt-out function via Google+, and those under 18 won't have their data shared. This is more comprehensive than Facebook's privacy policy, which does not allow for complete opt-outs.

Good for brands

While the update will undoubtably raise privacy concerns, the fact is that Google display ads reach around 1 billion users worldwide.

If more targeted content can help brands reach new audiences and users discover more relevant content, the update may be better for parties on both sides of the fence. In theory at least.

To find out more visit google.com.

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