Behavioural advertising or targeting is a much discussed subject (often closely followed by the online privacy topic) and one that brings with it an equal balance of aggression and nervousness.
Put simply behavioural targeting is a technique used online to deliver specific messages based on user trends. Information is collected by cookies (not the choc chip kind) on users’ computers based on what they’re searching for and looking at, then this information is profiled and collated into ‘user groups’.
By understanding these user groups we can more effectively target audiences online therefore deliver more relevant adverts.
Contrary to popular belief, it is safe and is really just designed to not waste consumer’s time. Big Brother aren’t recording your every move and sending it to MI5 and it is closely regulated by bodies such as the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau).
If you want to learn a bit more, this video from the IAB puts in simple language what behavioural advertising is all about, the referenced URL http://www.youronlinechoices.co.uk/ is also a really useful site if you want to know more about cookies and how to protect your privacy online.
You can also read my recent blog post ‘Is Privacy Dead’ for more information surrounding this subject area.