Individuals spend a lot of time on the internet, frequently surfing sites related to what they are interested in. An increasing amount of data is being collected on people and their specific behaviour on the internet. This could include the kinds of searches they conduct, the sites they visit, the ads they click etc.
Evidently, this is a very controversial new area of advertising. It allows advertisers to deliver a very specific ad tailored to the users behavioural preferences, when he or she visits a particular site. Although such a method can help deliver more relevant ads to the customer, the acceptable level of intrusion of privacy is yet to be determined.
In fact, behavioural advertising is involves an internet user being shown advertisements that they would be interested in, no matter which site they are on at that time. The same Nike advertisement might appear if they are reading the news on BBC or researching a report on Britannica.
If we delve deeper, we can even see how this is done. “Behaviour” is tracked using a cookie. It is a piece of software that sits on the user’s computer and simply tracks what they are doing.
This kind of contextual advertising is only just starting out and could very well fall foul in view of privacy concerns. But it throws up many more opportunities for users, search engines and advertisers.