If you have recently searched for cheap flight tickets online, next thing you know you start seeing banners for flight deals. Or, let’s say you need to buy a Christmas present for your baby nephew. So you do a quick research, browse a few online shops, buy something nice, and the deal is closed. Oh, but no, somehow ads for kids’ stuff now keep popping up everywhere you go on the Internet. Is this just a coincidence? No, it is not.
It’s estimated that an average Internet user sees more than 1,700 banner ads per month, so it’s not surprising that brands do their best to stand from the crowd and lure you into buying their products and services. Here’s when retargeting comes into play. It is a powerful digital marketing technique that allows retailers to display banner ads based on your previous online actions. Retargeting typically relies on cookies – small bits of code that are placed into your browser. Due to their ability of cross-site user tracking, cookies are advertisers’ best friends, helping them to serve you targeted ads. Having this in mind, next time you buy something from Amazon, don’t be surprised you will see related ads on Facebook or a blog you follow.
While this type of advertising can actually help spot the best deals for your favorite products, it can also be extremely annoying if you are not so much into online shopping. And here also comes the privacy moment – you, like every other Internet user, should be able to visit your favorite websites without having to worry that you are being watched and tracked all the time.
The bad news is, it’s impossible to stay 100% anonymous online and live in an ad-free world. However, there are a few trusted methods that can help you take control over what you see on the Internet. Here’s how you can make it harder for third parties to monitor your online behavior and avoid those annoying ads:
1. Manage cookies
To make it happen, open the Privacy area in the Settings or Preferences menu, depending on your browser. On the cookies settings panel, you will see a couple of options: you can remove all cookies, set to deny cookies from particular websites or choose not to accept third-party cookies. The best option here would be to set your browser to clear cookies every time you end your browsing session and close the browser window.
2. Browse in private mode
Opening a private or incognito window in your browser will help you hide your browsing tracks. Each time you close the private window, all your searches, visited pages, as well as cookies will be erased so nobody will be able to track your browsing activities. However, be aware that your ISP can still see your IP address, so the incognito mode doesn’t make you completely private.
3. Use browser extensions
Anti-trackers are extremely useful for keeping your online activities away from snoopers and trackers. The NordVPN proxy extension for Firefox and Chrome is another handy tool for staying private online. It hides your IP address and encrypts all your Internet traffic so no one, not even your ISP can see where you go on the Internet. What’s more, it has this awesome feature called CyberSec, which blocks trackers and keeps those flashy pop-ups and other intrusive ads out from your sight.
If you truly care about your privacy online, don’t rely on technology alone. Common sense is also important: click less and be careful when providing your personal details. Do you need all those newsletters, special offers and other spam in your inbox? Is it really worth clicking every pop that offers you to win something? Well, you get the point: it’s up to you what you see online.