It was after I’d seen an advert trying to sell me domain names for the thousandth time, following me around the Internet, irregardless of the subject of the website I was visiting at the time that I got to thinking, If I hadn’t clicked on this advert the first time I’d seen it, because I wasn’t interested, then why would I be more likely to click on it the thousandth time. And even if I had clicked on it the first time, now being aware of what lay behind it, why would I be likely to click on it again now. But there it still was, following me around like a bad smell. Taking the place of Adsense adverts that had they been relevant to the content I was now visiting, might have inspired me to go check them out.

What are Google Adsense Interest Based Ads?
In March 2009 Google released Adsense interest based ads, a system based around ‘cookies’ that is intended to deliver adverts to your website visitors based upon their own general interests, e.g. somebody who frequently visits gardening websites will find that they are shown gardening based adverts, whether they are visiting a gardening website, or not.   Which while designed to increase Adsense earnings for its publishers (and Google themselves) has led to many Internet users reporting that certain adverts stalk them around the Internet, often to the point of overkill.

Should I Turn off Adsense Interest Based Ads?

The natural assumption is to assume that Google knows best with regards to which adverts are displayed within your content, after all, they only make money when you do. However, Google thinks about the Internet and advertising in much broader terms than the average webmaster needs to concern themselves with, and your website/content is your territory, and nobody should know it better than you do.

Experimenting with the options made available to you with regards to your adverts can seriously alter the amount you earn from Adsense, and I’ve personally witnessed many times how a simple color or ad position change can double earnings almost instantly. And the same can be true when disabling Adsense interest based ads, as I have personally noted, having received increases in both CTR and ECPM since turning them off.

But with that said, all websites function differently, and what works for one will be very different from what will work best for another. With optimum earnings usually only being achieved through experimentation, and trial and error.

What Happens if I Turn off Adsense Interest Based Ads?

The adverts displayed within your content will revert back to contextual only based adverts e.g. gardening ads on gardening websites, movie ads on movie reviews, etc. and general / public service adverts taking over if there are no relevant ads suitable for the content. Essentially, as per pre March 2009.

How do I Turn Off Adsense Interest Based Ads?

Within Adsense simply click on the ‘My Account’ tab near the top of the screen, scroll down to the section titled ‘Interest-based Ads preference’, choose the option ‘Do not show ads based on user interest or demographic categories, and then click on ‘Save changes’. And that’s it.

Leaving you now only to monitor the outcome and analyse the changes (if any), before deciding upon which works best for you, and your content.