Online activity tracking: friend or foe?


media updateTaylor Goodman examines both sides of the coin when it comes to the polarizing debate around online tracking.

Picture this: you’re hungry and craving a burger, so you google search for “ burger spots nearby. ” The days go by and you notice that you see advertisements for hamburger spots all over Instagram. It’s data tracking at work.

But how do brands follow consumers online and Why?

Let’s find out:

Understanding Online Tracking

To know Why brands track user activity on social media, we need to have a basic understanding How? ‘Or’ What online tracking works.

Online tracking is when brands collect user data and information about their online activity.

When you visit a website, use an app, or click a specific product online, these entities use cookies, mobile identifiers (like your IP address), or interest-based advertising data to learn more about your shopping habits and interests.

Whether it’s Amazon, Facebook, or a local online retailer, more businesses are using online tracking than you might think. In fact, the University of Washington has reported that a huge 75% of the world’s most popular brands use tracking tools.

But what exactly do these companies want your personal information, you ask? good, these data allow brands to target you more effectively while you browse the Internet.

Essentially, once these brands know more about how you like to spend your money, your demographics, and your interests, they have a better understanding of how to sell you.

For example, if you were interested in buying a new pair of shoes and browsing your options on a site where you have cookies enabled, you may find the exact pair of shoes you were interested in appearing as an ad on a completely site. different. This can be great news for you as you get the results you want from your research. However, not everyone sees it that way.

The nature of online tracking has created a polarizing debate: is it an invasion of privacy or just modern marketing at play?

Why users are against online tracking

As social media becomes part of our daily lives, it’s no secret that consumers are starting to trust brands less and less in the digital space. This lack of trust boils down to privacy concerns and not wanting their personal information exposed.

Critics of online tracking strongly insist that it is an invasion of internet user anonymity. They Feel uncomfortable with tracking brands, what it feels like, their every move.

It’s important to note that some apps like Facebook and Instagram ask for permission to track your online activity (IOS users will have seen it in a pop-up form when they open the apps). This way the consumer has more control over the amount of information they or they want to share with businesses, but even that notion has made social media users uncomfortable.

Although to some it might seem relatively harmless for web trackers to know what your age or gender is. However, those who are against tracking question whether it is necessary for these entities to know as much personal information.

For example, a the web tracker can preview your:

  • Income
  • Relationship status
  • family members
  • health problems
  • Political Views
  • sexuality, and much more.

The above is personal and for the consumer of do not knowing how this information is collected, with whom it will be shared and whether it is secure with these entities makes them panicked and vulnerable.

Because of this, online tracking skeptics will choose to forgo personalization tactics just to be left alone, even though it might benefit them in other ways (but more on that later).

Besides privacy concerns, internet users are also reluctant to share their information with web trackers because they don’t want to be spammed with ads.

Second, if they share their information, they are also likely to fall victim to jacking price. This is when brands increase their prices because they have a sense of how much money you are making or because you live in a wealthier area.

This is the dilemma of modern advertising because consumers don’t want to feel watched over by marketers – But marketers need to know how to sell effectively in an increasingly digital society. Speaking of

The bright side of online tracking

As with most things in life, every story has two sides. There are many advantages to online tracking from a consumer perspective, but this is often overshadowed by the negative side of things.

One of the biggest benefits of allowing a brand to track your online activity is that as a consumer you see more personalized ads. As brands have it bigger insight into your interests and buying habits, they can use this information to sell you in a more targeted and effective way.

This removes the clutter and delivers ads that are valuable and relevant because they are tailored to your lifestyle, saving you time when making purchasing decisions – and which would not want that?

Additionally, consumers should remember that ads are what keeps social media free. This is because targeted ads sell for a higher price, which allows these platforms to continue to operate for free.

Second, online tracking can also help you get better deals. For example, if you shop online and abandon your cart, chances are the site you were shopping from will send you an email reminder that you haven’t completed your purchase yet – and that may even come with an incentive, such as a discount code, to encourage you.

Finally, online tracking results in more effective marketing, which is especially beneficial for small businesses or local businesses. By allowing online tracking, web trackers can connect you to local brands through advertisements.

Something as ‘small’ as accepting cookies can help businesses that rely on advertisements to reach their consumers – to reach you.

Are you tired of online tracking or doesn’t it bother you? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to learn more about the benefits of online tracking? So don’t forget to check out our article, Why You Should Let Social Media Track Your Online Activity.

* Image courtesy of Vecteezy

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