Target AdWords ads by email address? Google is reportedly considering this kind of ad targeting in their war for ad dollars with Facebook.
This is a chance that excites me as an advertiser, yet makes me very leery as a user… However, from a user perspective, most would never realize it was happening.
It appears that there are some restrictions, where the email addresses must belong to their exisiting customers list. This is seem as Google’s answer to Facebook’s “custom audiences” ad targeting.
It is very likely that the targeting could also be restricted to just GMail addresses, which would make it easy for Google to track and target those users individually.
Google is also restricting this targeting to search ads only, so advertisers couldn’t use banner ads for targeting. However, since advertisers can utilize image ads with retargeting ads, the restriction isn’t a deal breaker at all. But if email targeting becomes popular, it is likely it could be expanded, at the very least to Google properties.
If the restriction isn’t enforced to existing customers, you could definitely see people utilizing this feature for evil, such as targeting ex-boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives with specific types of websites they wouldn’t appreciate or agree with. Imagine how you could annoy all kinds of people as long as you knew their email address!
Google is looking at a launch date of later this year or early next, and is already talking with potential advertisers about this new ad targeting.
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