Have you ever wondered what marketers know about you? In a nutshell, websites have access to your (a) IP address and (b) web browsing data. I will walk you through both and you can decide if it’s creepy.
IP Address: This is provided by your internet provider and gives away your zip code. That’s why if you search for an address it will give you one nearby. Go ahead and try it, type “Walmart” into Google and you’ll see their locations nearest you.
Web Browsing Data: You leave a trail on every website you visit. This gives a better snapshot of your specific demographics—gender, age, if you’re pregnant, looking for a job, a holiday shopper, etc. To get an idea of what marketers know about you, check out Google’s Ad Preferences.
For example, here’s what Google knows about me:
- Male, age 25-34 who speaks English (100 percent correct)
- Live in Utah (also correct)
- Interested in online communities, specifically social networks (I check Mashable daily)
- Interested in computers & electronics, specifically consumer electronics and even boils that down to gadgets and portable electronics (yes, I usually watch the Apple events live-stream)
- Sports cycling category (we have a bicycle safety client)
- Listen to urban & hip-hop music (pretty close, Google. I prefer alternative/indie but am flattered nonetheless.)
Using this information, marketers will tailor ads to be more relevant to you. Interestingly, according to a comScore study, just the exposure to display ads will increase your likelihood to purchase the advertised product.
What do you think: is using online data invasive or do you appreciate it? Let us know in the comments.