Everybody has heard of cookies, but most people don’t know what they are (no, I am not talking about the cookies your grandmother used to bake). Long story short, cookies are files placed on your device by websites or search engines. These files are deisgned to hold specific data about a user’s web browsing activity (no personal data though!).
The information gathered is used to segment users into audiences based on visited websites and searches. These audiences are in turn used by advertisers to deliver specific ads, tailored for each individual.
So in case you we’re wondering why you have been seeing that handbag or watch ad on every website you visited lately, it is thanks to behavioural advertising.
There are regulations
This data has to be collected in a transparent manner. The individual has to agree to this and can stop the behavioural ads if he or she wishes to. The European Digital Advertising Alliance has developed a set of principles which include rules regarding data security and sensitive segmentation.
Here’s the secret
I shouldn’t be telling you this, but there is a way to stop most of the behavioural ads that are targeting your device. Your Online Choices has gathered most of the big names in the advertising industry into one simple and interactive form.
Just select a country and you will see which advertisers are targeting you. On the right you have the option to turn off certain or all ads delivered by certain businesses.
Why am I telling you this
I find it is important to be able to see content relevant to your interests online, even when it comes to ads. But instead of AdBlocker, you can now try to opt out of certain ads.
Of course this won’t stop every ad online from being displayed. But the ones that will get to you, might not be that relevant.