Some people call it personality-based advertising, but others call it invasion of privacy.
Do you know how is it that those pesky, targeted ads that follow you everywhere you go online actually work?
We are already so accustomed that we hardly notice it, but seeing ads for products and services that you just searched is still uncomfortable, when not annoying.
Where did you get that information? How do they manage to appear on absolutely all your devices?
Why do they give you the rattle for weeks, even if you have already bought the product that is advertised?
There is no doubt that online advertising has become increasingly precise and persistent, not in vain it is the main source of income of most of the technology giants, such as Facebook and Google.
Marketing specialists and advertising technology companies compile this data to have a precise profile of our movements in all the devices.
The technology is already so sophisticated that you can even know how interested you are in a given purchase, pondering the insistence with which ads will appear on the subject.
The trackers take into account signals, such as the time you spend watching for example information about a product, to know the degree of interest you have on it.
If you spend 15 minutes on Amazon and Google looking for information on, say, jeans, you will not see anything else on the internet in the coming weeks.
Convenience or violation of privacy
Although many people feel uncomfortable when they see advertisements appear on searches they have recently made, the advocates of this type of “relevant” advertising say that, in the end, it is more interesting to see ads about things that interest you than random products, that you do not care in the least.
Its detractors, however, assure that they are especially annoying, especially when they make incorrect assumptions.
It happens to all the people who use internet searches to obtain information for our work: writing, for example, an article about the horse racing market does not mean that we want to buy one and, despite this, you can spend weeks watching ads of stallions.
Not all crawlers or online advertising services are equally effective.
The good ones know, more or less, if you are interested in buying horses and will stop showing them if they know that you have already bought one.
The bad ones will give you the rattle until exhaustion, no matter what.
How do we get rid of these bullying ads?
Well, there is not a magic cure, but a list of things that have to be done to limit and hopefully eliminate them.
As much as advertising is worse or better directed, personalized ads are the clearest example that on the internet it is impossible to maintain anonymity.
A 2012 survey conducted by Pew Research Center notes that 68 percent of Internet users do not like targeted advertising because it implies that their behavior on the network is being analyzed.
It is clear that the browsing history reveals a lot of personal information, from health problems, to political affiliations and even sexual habits.
Getting rid of this kind of ads is not easy, but there are tools that allow us, at least, to limit the information that social networks and websites have of us.
There are four basic keys to stop this type of advertising:
1. Cookies, cookies and… less cookies
Ad crawlers will have more difficulty tracking your activity if you delete cookies on each of your devices on a regular basis.
All browsers have this option. Removing these will also cause you to have to re-enter the passwords of most sites and re-accept the awkward warnings that explain, precisely, that cookies will be used.
2. Reset the identification number
Both Android phones and Apple phones have a registration number, which helps advertisers to follow your activity in it.
This number can be reset at any time in the settings of your smartphone.
Changing it from time to time also reduces access to advertisers’ personal information.
3. Remove Google’s search history
We do not talk about the history of your browser, whose data has already been collected whether you delete it or not, but the history that Google saves from your searches and that you can remove thanks to its own My Activity tool, where you can know what the Internet giant has on you.
4. Remove ads that you do not want to see
Some of the most frequent advertising services, such as Google or Facebook, include an option to “delete” ads.
This does not mean that they disappear, but you indicate to the service that this advertisement does not interest you and you do not want it to appear again.
5. Use an ad blocker
As everyone knows, there are multiple ad blockers that can be installed on browsers to see fewer ads, but remember that most people who are dedicated to generating content live on advertising revenue, so by hiding ads from your favorite pages will also limit this way of making money.
6. Use private search engines
Search engines such as Firefox Focus, DuckDuckGo or Ghostery Privacy Browser are designed to block the tracking of information, so they are the best option if you want to browse the internet without Google keeping the information of everything you are looking for.
7. Install a crawler blocker
Just as there are ad blockers there are programs, for computer and mobile, that detect the code of the websites that seek your information and prevents it from loading. One of them, perhaps the most popular one is Disconnect.me.
8. Filter ads so you get only the ones you want to see
Most platforms, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple offer tools to indicate which ads you want to see and which ones do not.