Whether the goal is to generate awareness or drive sales, marketers share a common objective: reach people likely to be interested in their product or service. With contextual targeting on the Google Display Network, you can find people the very moment they express interest by browsing relevant content. But what happens if someone who has been browsing for cameras then goes on to read a separate news site or favorite blog? A marketer for a camera company would like to show that interested user an ad, but they can't use contextual targeting to reach them, since the site is unrelated.

Over a year ago, we announced a beta of interest categories on the Google Display Network. We've been slowly expanding the availability of this feature, and as of today, interest categories are now available to all AdWords advertisers. It works like this: our system looks at the types of pages a user visits, taking into account how recently and frequently those pages have been visited, and then associates their browser with relevant interest categories. Using these categories, you can show ads to the people most likely to purchase your products or services, and you can reach them across all types of sites in the Google Display Network in addition to contextually relevant sites.

With over 1,000 interest categories from ecotourism to mobile phones, we’re confident you'll find a category that fits your business. And with over 500 million users interested in these categories who visit the Display Network every day, you’ll be able to reach a huge number of potential customers. You pay only for clicks or impressions at auction prices, as always. Our beta advertisers have used interest categories to successfully meet all kinds of goals, from an advertiser increasing brand lift by 40% to a shoe retailer driving 400% more conversions at a lower advertising cost per sale.

As we’ve made interest categories available to more advertisers, we’ve remained committed to providing users with the highest level of control and transparency. Users may, at any time, view and edit interest categories or permanently opt out of receiving interest-based ads entirely with the Ads Preferences Manager. Also, we label our ads with the AdChoices logo to give users notice and choice about the ads they see.

We hope you'll use these interest categories to enhance your advertiser campaigns. We think you'll find them an effective way to reach more interested users, increase awareness of your products and services, and ultimately drive more sales. You can visit our Help Center to learn more.

-Jon Krafcik, Product Manager, Google Display Network