Are you ever shocked by online ads? Did you find yourself browsing products on an online store, such as Indigo or The Bay, and later notice ads for those exact same products popping up on other websites? Is Big Brother watching? How do “they” know you were looking at that? It’s hard to do anything anonymously online these days. Every click, “like” and “share” is saved somewhere.
How online ads are selected vary – there are different types of display ads, which are delivered to your browser screen for different reasons. The type of advertising we’re talking about here is called “remarketing.” Remarketing is a tactic where online marketers “remember” specific items you clicked on or saved to to cart, but didn’t buy and serve them back to you as online ads. So, after you leave that online store and click onto a news article or blog, suddenly that item you looked at is part of an ad for that retailer on the sidebar. This isn’t spyware and it’s not illegal. You aren’t being followed. The marketer doesn’t know who “you” are, but rather your computer and what you, as a user of that computer, is looking at.
How to Stop Targeted Online Ads
You don’t need to run your anti-virus software – it’s not that serious. But if you want to stop targeted ads, or all ads for that matter, there are a few things you can do.
- Delete your browser’s cookies daily or every few days. Websites are now required to tell you that they’re collecting cookies from you, which you can accept or deny. But most of us just click “yes,” because we want to get the most out of the website experience. That said, clear those cookies to stop those ads from following you around because then they will no longer know that you clicked on that item.
- Get ad-blocker software. This will effectively remove all advertisements from your browser screens when you’re on different websites. This will take care of those “remarketing” ads, plus other ads that were delivered to you based on your location.
If the ads don’t bother you, then you don’t really have to do anything about them. The only harm they may cause is to your bank account, as they may remind you of that thing you looked at that you really wanted. If you buy that thing that the tactic succeeded. So, if you really want to fight this type of advertising, resist buying the item they’re enticing you with!
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