The underbelly of the Web connects a person's Gmail email address, YouTube account, Google Maps, search queries on google.com, and other Google services that require a sign-in to personalize results.
The services often ask for a secondary email address or a phone number as a recovery option, in case the individual cannot access their account. One report suggests Google will begin using these connections to target advertisements. Others believe they already do.
Google, Yahoo and Microsoft learned to target personalized search results by breaking down silos. The three search giants have been working to tie services together, personalizing search engine query results based on location, searches, clicks on the desktop, and taps on mobile devices for quiet some time.
Gmail and lookalike audiences could become the next data points Google uses to target ads in search, per a report from The Wall Street Journal. Sources tell Search Marketing Daily the chatter came from brands discussing potential options.
Google doesn't read personal Gmails, per the company, but company officials do admit to automating the process of identifying specific words inside the email to target ads that run along the right rail.
The description sounds like a combination of remarketing and retargeting built through programmatic systems that feed on lookalike audience segments. "Here’s an example of how Google's ads would work, according to the people familiar with the matter: An office-supply retailer would give Google the email addresses of recent printer purchasers," per the WSJ. "The retailer could then bid to show ads when those people search for printer ink on google.com. The retailer could also tailor its Google ads based on other information it knows about the customer, including age, gender or prior purchases."
The service would create something similar to Facebook's custom audience segments.
Google, Microsoft and Yahoo would take the information individuals give them to sign up for services, breakdown the silos and build profiles to better target consumers as they traverse the Web through searches and services. The companies have individually been working on this type of ad targeting for years.