You’re Currently Being Followed Everywhere, Here are the Top Reasons

Couple years ago, a high schooler’s father received a mail containing many coupons related to pregnancy or baby items that meant for his daughter. Then he rushed to a Target (department store) and angrily say “My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?” While all the staff in that store have no clue of what he’s talking about, they said their apologies.

Reversely days later the father call Target but to complain, but to apologize. It turns out that his daughter is really pregnant. That means that Target knows more about his daughter compared to the father. How could this happen? It was because with a certain algorithm, Target could find patterns in her records, in this case, the pattern is buying pregnancy or baby related stuff.

When we make a membership card or make a shopping account tied to our ID or credit card, all of our information will be recorded and analyzed. That’s why every single of us could have a completely different promotion by the same company. That’s basically personalized marketing in a nutshell.

In more academic terms, personalized marketing is “the implementation of a strategy by which companies deliver individualized content to recipients through data collection, analysis, and the use of automation technology”.

You may come across in the middle of personalized marketing countless time throughout the day, but most of the time we don’t even realize it. Become they made it so seamless and as natural as possible.

As you reading this post in your favorite gadgets, there are many algorithms and software that is following you. The browser that you are using right now, is one of them. This is what we called behavioral tracking which essentially “uses previous online user activity (e.g., pages visited, content viewed, searches, clicks and purchases) to generate a segment.”

To know to what extent this technique follows our lives, watch this video. So let me recap again, so the talk is about an add-on that could track sites that follows your browser. After a complete day, this is what the add-on came up =

This illustration is picturing all the links and the connections that follow your browser. The red dots are the behavioral tracking sites, that you never visited or navigated to, but it follows you. The blue dots are the sites that you intended and navigated to. The grey dots are the sites that also follows you but you have no clue who they are.

To make it way more substantial, currently, Google is developing a real billboard that will adapt the content of the display based on your online history as you walk near the billboard. Just like what you experienced on your computer and phone with google ads.

After studying and knowing all that personalized marketing and behavioral tracking stuff, I was freaked out. Even for someone like me that studies Marketing, Branding, and love Data analysis. Because at this point, our privacy is jeopardized and threatened.

To recapitulate this post, I want to emphasize the endangerment of our valuable personal information and privacy in general if we are not careful enough interacting with the internet. We need to increase our awareness of what happened behind the interface of all the web we had used over the past years.

REFERENCES AND SUPPORTING ARTICLES

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-08-10/google-s-targeted-ads-are-coming-to-a-billboard-near-you

C. (2016, July 18). Behavioral Tracking. Retrieved from https://www.codefuel.com/glossary/behavioral-tracking/

Hill, K. (2016, March 31). How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

Kovacs, G. (n.d.). Tracking our online trackers. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/gary_kovacs_tracking_the_trackers?language=en#t-43607

Lubin, G. (2012, February 16). The Incredible Story Of How Target Exposed A Teen Girl’s Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/the-incredible-story-of-how-target-exposed-a-teen-girls-pregnancy-2012-2/?IR=T

Paul, I. (2012, February 29). Firefox Add-On Collusion Shows Who’s Tracking You Online. Retrieved from https://www.pcworld.com/article/250986/firefox_add_on_collusion_shows_whos_tracking_you_online.html

Roesler, P. (2018, August 20). Google Ads – Coming Soon to Billboard Near You? Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/peter-roesler/google-ads-coming-soon-to-billboard-near-you.html

What Is Personalized Marketing? (2018, May 29). Retrieved from https://www.emarsys.com/en/resources/blog/what-is-personalized-marketing/

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