What is Online Behavioral Tracking Exactly?

business tracking

Traditional methods of advertising leave a lot to chance. It is mostly a hit-or-miss operation for many companies. There might be no apparent reason, but carefully crafted messages often fall short of engaging the customer as desired. Thus, after the internet became a significant part of consumers’ lives, advertisers took the opportunity to explore more targeted techniques. 

Today, many features of the web allow companies to obtain information about potential clients. Even a quick visit to an online shopping store can trigger ads from that company or many businesses offering similar services. Such personalization of the content we see might be useful to an extent. We get introduced to many new companies and products that might interest us. However, it is important to stop for a moment and consider: what do these personalized offers mean? Basically, it entails that advertisers know about your browsing habits and can respond to them accordingly. For many, such tracking is a digital privacy concern.

What is behavioral tracking all about?

Behavioral tracking means that advertisers gain insights into users’ browsing habits. The data gathered from the web helps advertisers create netizens’ profiles, revealing their interests, views, etc.

The main purpose of adopting this technique is to display online ads strategically. Instead of going after random people that might have no interest in a specific service, advertisers go for a more targeted approach. Thus, the digital world enables companies to find clients that might be genuinely interested in what they have to offer. As mentioned before, such personalization online might not be everyone’s cup of tea. As concerns over digital privacy increase, more and more people want to stop online tracking and opt for a more private experience.

How behavioral tracking improves the web

Ad campaigns based on information collected from behavioral tracking can be beneficial for businesses and consumers. Here are the advantages for the advertisers and companies:

  • Higher conversion rates. With access to consumers’ browsing patterns, an advertiser gets to know about their interests and needs. That helps to target them with ads that are more likely to trigger a response, possibly even leading to a purchase.
  • Improved ad click-through. Generic banners often fail to get the desired number of clicks, as they aren’t fine-tuned to address specific customer needs. Personalized ads tailored to address a viewer’s interests perform much better. After an initial engagement with a product that the viewer highly desires, he is much more likely to continue on the site seeking more information than with a product that fails to connect with his desire. So, having formed an idea of what is likely to appeal to the consumer through online behavior tracking always helps.

Consumers reap the following rewards:

  • New services and products to explore. Having to rummage through irrelevant ads while surfing can be annoying as well. Personalized ads triggered by your online behavior can indeed be more useful, especially if they help you find what you are looking for.
  • Higher online shopping efficiency. With ads that users find interesting appearing prominently during browsing, consumers are led to online storefronts through a few simple clicks. Adding products to the cart and checking out now becomes only a matter of minutes.

Online behavior tracking in terms of privacy

Millions of people worry about their data being misused by companies. What is even worse, your data could leak online, meaning that anyone willing to eavesdrop could obtain it. Therefore, netizens often choose browsers that offer them protection from various types of tracking. For instance, Mozilla has recently introduced protection from supercookies and continues its battle against fingerprinting and third-party cookies. Another solution is to use a VPN, which elevates your privacy online. How does it do that? A Virtual Private Network scrambles information about your web activities, meaning that entities can no longer keep tabs on them. It is a simple tool, and which can make a big difference in becoming more anonymous online.

Online behavior tracking often raises privacy concerns as companies can be said to overstep their boundaries. Services like Google or Facebook obtain incredible volumes of data about our browsing. Therefore, you should be used to the ads that appear on your social media networks or during other browsing activities. Additionally, such online tracking is criticized due to the fact that netizens receive little to no information about how their data is going to be used. For instance, companies can share their collected consumer data with others. It means that companies you have never heard of will know about your browsing habits. Thus, while it can be useful, carefully consider its downsides.


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