Google June: 93,600 October: 277,000
Yahoo! June: 78,000 October: 224,000
Taking the average of Google and Yahoo!’s numbers, and assuming there are one million AdSense sites, it looks like Google’s interest-based ad targeting now reaches about one-quarter of the AdSense network. This pace of adoption seems low given the higher revenue expectations for behavioral targeting and Yahoo!’s apparent success with the technology on news sites.
Of course, ultimately it isn’t the sheer number of sites electing to be in the program that matters; it’s the traffic volume and quality of the sites that do choose to opt-in that determines the program’s success (and the scope of consumer information collected). But if three-quarters of AdSense sites are still hesitating, perhaps Google hasn’t shown them the money just quite yet.
As with so many things, only Google knows. But it may be that this slow adoption has something to do with why so few of us appear to have any advertising-worthy interests, at least according to Google’s Ad Preferences Manager. This is the transparency tool Google rolled out to soften privacy concerns about the AdSense targeting program. As explained in a prior post, few folks actually appear to have any interests available to target upon. Is there a vicious circle at work here?