Here’s how ads are following you around on the internet

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  • Companies use ads to attract buyers, while websites which show these ads generate revenue from your clicks.
  • These companies and websites use code snippets to make sure they display relevant ads to buyers.
Ads are how most online publications make money. While monetization using ads helps keep these websites in the business, from a reader’s perspective they can be a tad annoying. It can also seem downright creepy when the same ads follow you around on the internet.

For example, you might have been looking at a pair of jeans or shoes on a website. Soon, you start seeing those jeans and shoes on every other website. Doing so, allows these companies to keep those products in your memory, and eventually push you to buy them. But as a user this can get irritating quickly, especially if you don’t want to buy them.

Why do these ads follow me?

So, you might be wondering why these ads keep following you around on the internet.

The answer is simple – behavioral reinforcement. Companies try to retarget users who have already seen their products on a website. If you don’t buy the product at first, these companies use a concept called “ad remarketing” to target you once again by showing those products to you again and again.

The belief behind this is that if users keep seeing these products, they might just give in and buy the product. This allows the seller to generate revenue. The websites that display these ads also make money when the user clicks through their ads.

So, how do these ads follow you around the internet?

Websites implement a code snippet called a cookie. This allows websites to track your browsing habits and deliver you appropriate content at an appropriate time.

Companies often refer to this as “personalized” or “relevant” ads – ads that are tailor-made for you, based on your browsing habits.

If you don’t want ads to follow you around, you can try opening shopping websites in incognito mode for now. We’ll come back with detailed tips on how to stop these ads from snooping on you.

See also:

A personal finance influencer on YouTube earned 6 figures from ads in 2019. He told us how and shared the monthly breakdown

Facebook will let you reduce the number of political ads you see on Facebook and Instagram
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