User data tracking helps huge companies such as Google and Facebook earn a lot of money. Besides clever marketing tactics and strategies, this is a key element to convert website visitors into customers.
So, websites are happy with it, but it turns out to be a huge problem for any user. In this article you will find out how the system works. Moreover, you will learn why it is dangerous for all of us and how to keep it away.
What is user data tracking?
Tracking is the process of recording information about a person’s characteristics or behavior. So, companies use it to manipulate or learn the characteristics of the sample.
In simple words, they use it to evaluate the general behavior of the target audience. Then, the business can gather supporting information and adapt its services accordingly. To achieve the objective, marketers collect data about their customers.
Social media services regularly expose consumers to programs and offers. Site visitors click through gold endpoint banners. If they give consent, the applications record lots of things about them. It happens also on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook Newsfeed, Instagram, or TikTok.
Would our Facebook friends know that we use a certain software for your marketing? They would not be surprised.
Through their codes, website inform Facebook, for instance. Then, the micro-blogger-friends confirm what their partners said.
Thus, Facebook knows more about us than we know about our partners. Facebook also knows how many likes we have on a social network post. And this is just a small sample of data that websites collect.
What dangers do they pose for consumers? Advertisements usually target people who need assistance in making a purchase. Ads include not only information about the product, but also describe the best conditions to activate it.
Why is it a problem for users?
Tracking directly or via cookies is a basic user data tracking system that has been accepted as a standard practice. Due to this, website owners know whether a visitor is a new customer, a non-customer or a previous customer.
So, they can track various user segments and communicate with them, in order to earn money. As soon as websites collect sufficient user data, the companies start gathering information about us.
We generate data for Google Ads and if we buy something from our browser, Google knows about it. Also, our Facebook friends may share information about us and our activities. Then, our web history allows the company to learn about our interests and show “the right ads” to us.
When we visit a website, a cookie is generated on our machine. The cookie contains some personal information such as our name, actual email, the session times etc. The website needs all that to track us. Meanwhile, our browser sends the data to the website.
So, whenever we return to this website, the information stored in this cookie is compared to the information previously uploaded. If any new information is available, the website provides us special offers.
The process continues until the user closes the browser. At the end of the day, all the information is compared with various products and services available on the website.
Also, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have detailed systems similar to web analytics. So, they can easily analyze users’ behavior. We fill a Facebook profile with personal information. Then, Facebook surveys our friends and contacts and uses this information to build a database of users.
The best protection against it
Such tracking is called ‘Cross-site tracking’ and it’s basically a means for the websites to identify users anywhere on the Internet. Later, the tracking happens inside the browser and consequently, the user is taken to the advertiser’s website.
When users visits a user tracking advertisement, the code running in the browser sends information about the visits to their servers. Then, the data is analyzed. From there, advertisers extract necessary data for their ads.
To get access to all, it is sufficient to have the user visit a website. Marketers consider user data tracking as totally necessary. Smart websites use machine learning, so they can recognize and categorize users’ behavior and create targeted ads.
Now, that it’s clear how websites and social platforms track and use our data, it’s time to stop this for good. The best way is to use a wise enough ad blocker that can block trackers, even before they reach our browsers.
Here Ad Guardian Plus comes to help smart users, that really care about their personal data. Download it to remain untracked during your online experience.