why doesn't google provide ad targeting based on query profile categorization?

I am guessing that our google queries could be used to classify us into all sorts of interesting categories. E.g. it wouldn’t be too hard to pigeonhole me as a Russian-American programmer based on what I search. Well, so why doesn’t Google incorporate this type of info in the AdWords program? If they already do location targeting, why don’t they also do “job targeting”, “ethnic category targeting”, “age targeting” and similar?

Perhaps one answer might be, maybe they already do (to increase relevance and click rate) but don’t tell anybody including the advertisers, but that would seem economically inefficient. After all, by letting advertisers target ads better they would have increased the efficiency of advertisement and hence expanded the market, right?

Or are they concerned about popular backlash from people for whom the appearance of such service would hammer home the threat of automated profiling and so prefer to keep anything like that under wraps?

categories which are useful to you aren’t necessarily useful to machines. The class of Russian American programmers (to the extent that they might be able to measure that) may be more different than the class of people who read up to the 5th link on the page but then always click on the 3rd link to pick a random example.


since I am a potential advertiser, categories that are useful to me are precisely those that AdWords should consider drilling down on. E.g. I am not going to pay for specific targeting of the scrolling through 5 links demographic. But I might pay to target Russian-Americans, or programmers, or restaurant managers.

You may have already hit it spot on. Google doesn’t tell anyone how it targets its ads.

But it is known they do use different algorithms to determain ads. So you could find it using local targeted ads in one search and another search uses another algorithm

Have you ever bought Google Ads? They don’t share everything but they share a tremendous amount. You can target your ads to specific keywords, to specific sites, to specific geographic regions, to specific times of day. I would say it’s quite the opposite of what you said - they go beyond telling people how it targets its ads and let the advertisers decide how they’re going to target them.

I can see the value of adding more demographic data to AdWords users but their approach has basically been that their approach is better than traditional profiling. Profiles are rarely exact and anytime you profile you 1) include people who do not really fit that profile 2) include people who fit the profile but aren’t interested in your product 3) exclude people who do not fit the profile but would be interested in your product. Instead you get to pick things like the keywords that indicate someone is interested in your product and target those searches instead of targeting people.

Anyway I could see adding it as an additional tool but I think that’s the primary reason - they like their targeting better.