10 Surveillance Ways Online Advertising Uses (For example, Offline Apps)
Social platforms know everything about us: basic data, plans, tastes, habits, and even moods. It would seem that it’s time to get used to it, but there are things that are still scary. And that, for example, is targeting advertising. Agree, it gets a little uncomfortable when the phone shows us posters of shoes that we recently tried on in the store. Well, how do advertisers know about our every action?
1. Advertisers collect data from social media accounts
Social networks work with advertisers to provide them with our personal information. When we create a profile on social networks, we at least include information about age, education, as well as political views, interests, favorite movies, and more. So if you put “playing guitar” in the “My interests” line, don’t be surprised if you constantly see Yamaha ads.
2. Buying offline data from your apps
The apps on our phone are sources of offline data. We often leave notes in our notes or share personal data in our fitness diary, but we forget one thing: When we install an app, we check a box agreeing to the processing of our data.
According to Forbes magazine, offline data gets into the hands of advertisers through easy-to-use platforms such as Segmento. This program uses proprietary technology to buy ads in real time. Roughly speaking, it’s an auction of user data from which the platform selects target audiences based on set criteria. And it also knows how to identify users who are more likely to buy.
Moreover, to start using the program, you first need to link one of your accounts (Google, Gmail, Yandex, etc.), where all your contacts, orders, correspondence, photos, and so on are stored. And this is an additional way to learn more about us.
3. Watch you by the history of your site visits
Have you ever noticed, when visiting a site, a pop-up notification window that warns you about the collection of cookies? This is a small piece of data through which the browser gets all the information it needs from your computer. So the ad banners adapt to us based on these very cookies, which store all the data about our movements on web pages, search queries, clicks.
If cookies store data about our visits to sports websites, we will be tracked by ads for that category of products – for example, sports suits – even if we just go to see the weather. The same goes for pop-ups when we click on a banner or check “I’m not interested in that”: we give advertisers more information about our preferences.
Almost 80% of all websites around the world use counters or widgets to gather information about all our online activity. Russia, the US and UK are at the top of the list for the number of hidden sensors of Internet behavior.
4. Searching for you using keywords in search engines
Browsers like Google, Yahoo! and MSN, for example, analyze our search terms and place targeted ads, along with regular search results. Companies often pay search engines to rank high among results for specific keywords. That’s why when we search for a fitness center membership, for example, more often than not we see big companies in the first lines and unnecessary ads for sports nutrition or supplements in the margins of the page.
5. Keeping track of your bonus card purchases
Every time we use our loyalty card, we absentmindedly allow us to register on it all the products we purchase. This collects data on what we buy most often and identifies consumers with similar tastes. And if most of them have purchased the same product and you haven’t yet, don’t be surprised if you suddenly see a banner ad for that product.
6. Catching on to free Wi-Fi
It gets scary when we notice that ads are following us not only digitally, but also on a “real” trail. For example, we go to Instagram and see a post asking, “Is this your neighborhood?” and advertising the cafe we sat in a couple of hours ago.
Here’s how it works: we connect to free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop, where we often need to provide a phone number or mailing address. This information is then passed on to the advertising service provider, and then we see posts or banners about the place where we were recently.
In addition, when we walk with Wi-Fi turned on past the room where the router is located, the smartphone automatically tries to connect to it and transmits its technical ID to it. After the router records information about the device, you will start to receive promotional offers to buy an office or apartment in that complex.
7. Follow you from site to site
Once we like or repost something we like, we start seeing ads with it on every resource. You go in to read the news as an ad banner appears reminding you to buy that pair of shoes you recently looked at.
Advertisers are tracking us with a relatively new kind of targeting – look-a-like. This is an advertising mechanism that allows you to show banners only to the right people. The method is very simple: based on the already existing customer base, similar people are searched for, who are offered relevant ads.
8. Learning your routes
Platforms like Instagram and Google, for example, use tools that any organization can use to show ads to people who are in the closest radius to it.
So if we walk by a certain street every day, we’ll see ads for cafes and stores in that particular area. In addition, if we connect to Wi-Fi in the subway, it is actually possible to track the route that we regularly walk.
9. Using dual authorization
Have you noticed that recently platforms like Google have been using dual authorization, asking not only for an e-mail address, but also for a phone number? So advertisers keep track of which region’s users visit certain web pages more often, and then they show banners with relevant ads.
10. They study all your voice queries
Recently, many people face the situation: a person is sitting in a cafe, discussing with friends the concert he would like to go to, and after a while he goes to Instagram and sees an advertising post with tickets to this very event. How does this happen?
Yes, most likely we get bugged. But only not our conversations, but the voice commands we may have used while chatting with friends. Just once we click on the microphone icon and say, “Okay, Google!” or “Hello, Siri!” and whatever we’re looking for becomes known to advertisers. All of our voice queries from the phone, apps, and sites using Google voice services are stored in Google’s voice control history.