The product development elves at Google introduced a new way to target people on the Display Network using interests. Interest targeting is nothing new to advertisers who are familiar with Facebook ads, but it is a switch away from keywords for Google and could be a sign of things to come.
Interest targeting is really cool because you can target people who have shown interest in a given topic over the past 30 days. As stated on the Adwords Blog, here is how it works, “[the] system looks at the types of pages a user visits, taking into account how recently and frequently those pages have been visited, and then associates their browser with relevant interest categories”.
Interest targeting is not to be confused with topic targeting, which allows you to target people who are viewing content that contains a desired topic. Topic targeting does not take into account the behavioral factors of recency and frequency. However, it uses the same categories to target topics.
The behavioural profiling is getting a bit scary because of the introduction of Google+. Google+ allows Google to incorporate your profile likes and interest, with the behavioural data from their Search and the Display network to amass huge amounts of data on YOU. This data is then used to better target you with ads. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with Google using the data to better target ads to me because at least I will see more relevant ads. However, I could see how this would freak the average person out.
I highly recommend trying out Interest targeting. We have found that conversion rates are quiet a bit higher than topic or contextual targeting.