About Google ads

Search adAs you browse the Internet, read your email and shop online, you’ve probably noticed Google ads on these sites related to what you’re searching for or viewing. For example, your Google Search results page may show text ads similar to a search phrase you just typed, or your favourite blog may show interactive ads related to the content on the page. Google ads can also appear on Gmail, Google Earth and Google Maps.

So, why do we show ads and why might you see particular ads?

In this article

  • Why you may see particular ads
  • Keep Google free. Ads help support many of Google’s products like Google Search, Maps and Gmail, to name a few.
  • Help you find products and services. We try to make ads as useful as possible – and many can help you research and shop better online.
  • Help fund the websites you visit. Through programmes like AdSense, millions of websites earn money to keep the lights on and pay staff - by displaying ads.

Why you may see particular ads

You may see Google ads on Google Search and related products, Gmail and sites across the web.

Search ad

Gmail ad

Display ad

Video ad

On Google Search

You may see text ads on Google search results pages and other Google products such as Google Maps. The ads you see may be based on what you searched for, your location and the time of day. Depending on settings you've chosen, here are some factors that also determine the ads you see:

  • Previous search activity related to your current search
  • Google Web History and the settings in your Ad Settings
  • Non-personally identifying information in your Google account, such as your age and gender
  • Previous interactions with Google’s ads, advertising services or search results


You recently clicked on a search result for a kayaking website, or you recently visited that website. Later, when you search for “holidays”, you might see a personalised ad for a holiday destination where you can kayak.

On Gmail

You may see text or image ads in Gmail as you read your messages. The ads you see may be based on many of the same factors as ads in Google Search as well as additional factors such as the messages in your mailbox.


You’ve recently received lots of messages about photography and cameras. In Gmail, you may see an ad with a deal from a local camera sho.


Ad matching in Gmail is fully automated; no humans read your email to show you ads.

On YouTube, sites across the web and mobile apps

You may see ads in a variety of formats (text, image, video) on YouTube as well as on sites and apps that partner with Google, also known as the Google Display Network. The ads you see may be based on the content of the site you’re viewing and your recent geographic location, amongst other factors. Depending on the settings you've chosen, here are some factors that also determine which ads you may see:

  • The types of website you visit and the mobile apps you have on your device
  • The DoubleClick cookie on your browser and your Ads Settings
  • Websites and apps you’ve visited that belong to businesses that advertise with Google
  • Your activity on another device, if you previously signed in to your Google account on another device
  • Previous interactions with Google sites, apps, ads or advertising services
  • Your Google profile, including YouTube


You enjoy visiting websites and blogs about gardening. You may see ads related to this interest on gardening and non-gardening sites as you browse the web.

Ads on Google products and services using data shared by partners

You may see ads on Google products and services, including Search, Gmail and YouTube, based on information, such as your email address that you provided to advertisers and the advertisers then shared with Google. As a reminder, we won't combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information (PII) unless we have your opt-in consent.

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