For years Google had a method for serving up advertisements on websites that used Adsense (that old favourite where you add a block of code and advertisements magically appeared).
Their method was to look at the content of the page, decide what the page was about, see who was bidding to advertise on a page about that topic and then serve up the highest bidders.
This meant webmasters who were using Adsense could be quietly confident that advertisements relevant to their visitors would be showing up.
It was a good angle for Google as well because their advertisements were often mistaken for links within the website which led to lots of accidental clicking.
Actually in recent years they have made it even easier for a webmaster to make advertisements look ever more like links too encourage a few more "accidents".
This aside there has been a change now in the way Google decides what advertisements to show.
Adsense goes personal
Google now looks at the past browsing history of the internet user and adds this into the mix.
So, for example, I was sniffing around to buy a house in Tuscanny (I know, aren't we all) and spent an hour or two on this at the beginning of the week.
Later I was reading my usual articles about SEO, php and all those things which make up my working life that will pay for the house in Tuscanny!
Time and time again the advertisements on the websites I visited were for real estate in, yes you've guessed it, Tuscanny.
So Google had decided that although I was reading a web page about SEO the best advertisement to show me was one about Italian real estate.
Somewhere on the other side of the world someone else was probably reading the exact same article and seeing an advertisement for DIY Tools or whatever else they had been surfing in the previous hours or days.
Winners and Loosers
On the down side it would seem that there would be far fewer "accidental clicks" if the advertisements are obviously not part of the website and it could be argued that there would be far fewer genuine clicks as well.
However, despite my skepticism, this new approach seems to be working as we have seen a rise in advertising revenue on many of the sites we manage.
Time will tell if the approach is here to stay but if we have seen income rises then Google will have made a substantial increase in theirs!
... and did I click on the adverts I saw for houses in Tuscanny while I was reading about php. Well, yes I did. Enough said!