Google may be using its properties--iGoogle, Gmail and Apps--to step up its behavioral ad efforts.
That's the conclusion from Piper Jaffray Gene Munster who tracks 400 searches on Google and Yahoo each month. Munster defines a behavioral ad as one that pertains to a past query.
- This month there were 58 percent of queries that had one or more behavioral ad, up from 27 percent last month.
- You get different search results if you're logged into a Google account. A logged in user gets 79 percent more ads an anonymous one. Most of these additional pitches are behavioral.
- Google appears to be leveraging its properties to deliver more relevant ads that could boost revenue.
None of this is earth shattering, but Google hasn't yapped much about behavioral targeting. Google has probably spent more time talking about offline advertising--print, radio and television.
Munster writes in a research note:
"We noticed a significantly higher number of paid ads per results page while logged into a Google Account: there were 79% more paid search ads per search while logged into a Google Account than while not logged in. Also notable was the instance and frequency of past search query information in later searches. We noted 58% of logged in searches to include at least one behaviorally relevant ad, while only 6% of anonymous searches included a behaviorally relevant ad. While logged in to a Google Account, those searches that did include a behaviorally relevant ad included an average of 4 behaviorally generated ads, while anonymous searches averaged only 2.3. The bottom line is that based on our study, Google appears to be utilizing user accounts to more accurately and more frequently target search users with behavioral ads, while allowing Google to generate sustainable user data based on static rather than dynamic records. We believe this represents the early stages of Google's behavioral ad targeting within search and that the company will continue to make algorithmic changes to improve the quality of behavioral inclusion to paid search ads."
The larger question is whether there will be any user backlash. Google maintains that more relevant ads are helpful. But you can have too much of a good thing--like 79 percent more if you're logged into a Google account.