Internet Ads And How To Control Them
We have all been there – browsing the web and those annoying and frustrating ads start playing. Video covers half the screen and the audio blasts through your speakers often at inappropriate or embarrassing times.
And you go to another website, and alas, not only does the same thing happen but it’s an ad for the same product!
You can control this……and not by having to mute your audio.
How do different websites know what Internet ads to present?
The Internet has several “services” that provide advertising to multiple websites. The better known ad networks come from companies like Google, AdChoices, and Yahoo. A website administrator subscribes to one of these services usually to make money for their website. When a user browses the webpage a small amount of money is paid to the website. If a user clicks on an ad, an additional amount is paid.
When you visit a site a small file is created called a tracking “cookie” which contains information on your browsing habits. For example, let’s say you searched for 4k TV’s on a major retailers website, and then you start seeing adds for 4k TV’s as you browser on other seemingly unrelated sites. The tracking information is provided to the other websites by the “cookie” and they provide the ads based on what you are looking at.
And then there’s Google’s Internet ads….
According to Wikipedia Google’s Chrome browser is the most widely used on the Internet. In fact, over 50% (55.04% to be exact) of Internet browser traffic is through Chrome. When you set up Google’s browser you usually log in with your Gmail account. If you have an Android phone you also set up your GMail account. This ties all of your devices together and Google can then target your advertising very effectively. In fact everything you do is logged and recorded by Google when using their software. Fortunately, you can see this information and delete it. Check out myactivity.google.com
Google says you can mute and control their Internet Ads now. How does this work?
In both Chrome and Android there is an option called “Google Ad Settings”. Under this option you can mute what is called “reminder ads”. Using the same technique for targeting ads across your devices this setting will automatically mute these reminder ads on all your Chrome/Android browsers. If you mute the ads on your laptop, they will also be muted on your Android phone.
Also, Google is planning to enhance these controls to allow you to mute ads in their other products like Gmail, YouTube, Maps and so on.
What about Internet ads that aren’t from Google?
The settings on Android and Chrome only affect Google’s system, so you will still get advertising that’s on other networks. It is possible to mute these ads as well but it takes a little more technical expertise. Depending on the Internet browser you use the process will vary.
Using Chrome as an example you can block ads from playing automatically by installing an “extension”. Other browsers refer to these as plugins, but they are basically the same thing. To get to your extensions on Chrome, open the browser and enter “chrome://extensions” into the address bar. Here you can see what extensions are installed.
At the bottom there is a link called “Get More Extensions”. From that page search for an ad blocker. One popular one is called “Disable HTML5 Autoplay”. Find it on the list and click Add To Chrome and your videos are blocked. Please note: one side effect is this will block all videos that autoplay and doesn’t play nice with YouTube.
This procedure will only work on the browser you are using, and you will have to repeat the process to add your mobile device or other computers.
William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand. Article edited by Gretchen Winkler.
Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw