May 06, 2011

Advertisers & Cookies: Behavioral Targeting Explained

As a marketer at an interactive marketing firm, I am tuned in more than most of my friends and family with how digital advertising technologies work. In my personal life, I frequently have to explain how display advertising works with regard to targeting. I find myself using terms that the average Joe and Jane aren’t familiar with, and as their eyes glaze over, the only question they’re really concerned about is, “So, that’s an invasion of my privacy, right?”

Privacy concerns are a huge issue right now in the advertising industry, specifically in digital advertising. However, the process isn’t as intrusive as some people think it is. Also, the intent behind things like “cookies” and “ad networks” was actually quite helpful to Internet users.

I found a video on Wall Street Journal that describes what cookies are and how advertisers use them to serve you web ads for products they think you’ll like. The story behind the technology is interesting and a little education helps alleviate some fears of the true power of the dreaded “cookie-tracking.”


[Contributed by Emily Carroll]