This article explains Behavioral Targeting, its pros and cons and how it’s affecting our social and networked lifestyle.
What is Behavioral Targeting?
Sometimes you visit to an e-commerce website (Flipkart, Ebay, Quikr, Myntra and so on) via your laptop, PC, Tablet, phablet and so on for getting details of any products available depending on your area of interest.
But when you close that website or open another website like Facebook, LinkedIn and so on, you must be shocked by getting the advertisement of the same product on your social networking website wall or any other website you are visiting.
Now my question, is do you really know why that advertisement is there?
I assume that very few people are familiar with this thing and the process, like why it’s happening and what is the procedure. The answer to this question is very simple, this entire thing is happening because of a mechanism called “Behavioral Targeting”.
Behavioral targeting refers to a range of technologies, techniques and methodologies that are frequently used by website publishers and advertisers. These people allow organizations to increase the effectiveness of their products by capturing and storing data generated by the website.
Most of the time it is known to the user that their information has been forwarded to these types of organizations, it may be considered a breach of browser security and illegal by many other countries under the following laws:
- Piracy Laws
- Data Protection Laws
- Consumer Protection laws
- Security Access Laws
and so on.
How it Works
The mechanism is short and simple, whenever a user visits a website, a large amount of information the user accesses, like:
- The pages they visit.
- Amount of time they are spending on a link.
- Their switching among several links.
- Links they access.
- Result of their search operations and so on.
Is stored in the browser used to do the access (the same browser).
These browser vendors allow websites to collect data and other related issues and create a profile that links to that user’s web browser. As a result site publishers, advertisers can use this stored profile data to create defined audience segment based upon users that have similar types of profiles.
When a user returns to a specific website or network of sites using the same web browser, those created profiles are used by the advertisers to post their online advertisements in front of those users who have more interest in those products.
The main process of this mechanism is as follows:
- Data of the user based on their access is stored in the browser.
- A profile link is created.
(This is done by vendors.)
- Whenever a user again uses the same browser for other work, the web publisher allows the access
- A link is created between the stored info and the current access
- The stored information is forwarded by web advertisers.
(On user profile.)
- Advertisements are shown to the user depending on their domain product (interest)
Where it can be used?
Behavioral Targeting is now a marketing strategy that can be used on its own or in addups with the other forms of targeting. It is based on several factors like:
- Contextual Rights
- Web page Info
- Web advertisers
- Geography or location of access
- Web page content and so on.
On the basis of attacks and its pros and cons we can categorize Behavioral Targeting in the following 2 major categories:
- OffSite (Network)
Onsite behavioral targeting is commonly utilized by E-Commerce websites (like Flipkart, Ebay, Myntra) and online retailers. It makes use of the user’s behavior on the site to display and store their accessed information during their visit.
The technique uses the following mechanism:
- Analysis of information accessed by the user
- Generation of user channels
- Breaking of search
- Breaking of browser’s history and so on.
When a channel or link is generated, this process is started and the results are added to your profile.
Offsite Behavioral Targeting
Offsite Behavioral Targeting is also called network Behavioral Targeting. It is generally used by advertisement network servers and web advertisers. These advertisement servers deal with a much larger user database that is humongous and spread over various websites or networks. So the web advertisers are able to generate an approximate demographic makeup of the users.
I hope this will help you guys.
Till our next article, stay tuned and keep sharing. 🙂