Your digital lifestyle: Online advertising and internet privacy

Of late, we see an explosion in digital advertising. It’s estimated that the global market for digital advertising and marketing will reach a mind-boggling $786.2 billion by 2026.

Your digital lifestyle: Online advertising and internet privacy. [ignitingbusiness]

With the Covid-19 outbreak keeping us indoors, we have increasingly taken to the net to get our daily activities done, like shopping boosting online advertising further.

With more and more people going online, advertisers are looking to build personalized advertising campaigns targeting individuals for more effective marketing.

It’s a win-win situation if businesses can promote their products or services by delivering the exact information you seek as a consumer. Targeted advertising boosts sales like anything, which explains why companies wish to show ads to potential clients.

The concern is that targeted ads seem invasive, making people uncomfortable. In some cases, users suspect that their smartphones are downright listening to their conversations. However, the marketers online already know a great deal about you.

Since your privacy matters, businesses collecting consumer data must explain what they are collecting it for. It was to protect consumer privacy and bring some order into data sharing that the General Data Protection Regulation was implemented on May 25, 2018.

After this, it became mandatory for any business collecting consumer data, either offline or online, to mention what data it would collect and for what purpose. It has affected not just big business houses but even medical practitioners, associations, or bloggers.

After the data scandals involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, many of us have been left wondering what data companies collect about us and how many business houses know about us.

For instance, marketers know your age, your interests, your relationship status, even your income, and approximate location. While you do give away specific details willingly, many details are collected without you realizing it. And while some companies do attempt to minimize this intrusion, it is unclear when bigger changes will come.

With the GDPR already ruffled the feathers of big advertisers, there’s talk of ePrivacy Regulations doing the rounds that are likely to affect the advertising industry significantly.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of Europe has sought to address the issue of how consumers like you and I deal with our data online and how such data should be used for online advertising.

The IAB has dealt with the issue in a series of videos, with each addressing a specific question. The videos seek to allay the fears of consumers that protecting their data isn’t necessarily in conflict with its use for advertising.

Yes and no. Data about you is collected when you browse the net. When you accept the cookies on a website, data about what you do on the site is collected and stored. Such data is very useful for advertisers.

Advertisers seek to target you with campaigns of products and services that you like so that you find the campaigns interesting and useful. Therefore, you are, in a sense, spied upon.

However, no advertiser knows your identity as all the data is collected anonymously. No advertiser is conscious of who’s looking into the screen. All that an advertiser is interested in is what you checked out while being online, which gives them an idea of what you like and what you don’t.

Hence, while you are indeed being tracked online, your identity isn’t revealed. However, deanonymizing user data seems to be simpler than you can expect.

While advertisers have no malicious intent when they collect your data, frequently targeted advertising can be very irritating indeed. There’s a way for you to shrug off these advertisers. You can download a VPN to boost online anonymity and privacy.

After all, a Virtual Private Network reroutes your traffic, encrypts it, and even conceals your IP address. This change significantly minimizes the amount of data online entities get to extract about you.

You should also prevent online entities from displaying targeted ads. Even apps like TikTok have settings to boost your privacy. Similar changes can be made on various accounts; you just have to look for them.

Protecting consumer privacy while allowing targeted advertising requires careful balancing of the interests of both the consumer as well as the advertiser. While advertisers should be mindful of the concerns of consumers, the latter as well should realize how targeted advertising works.

Our article makes you aware of the issues involved and the developments that are awaited by both the consumers and the advertisers. While your privacy does matter, advertisements that offer what you want and need are helpful as well.

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