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How Interest-Based Advertising Works

Evidon helps you learn how the right ads are served to the right person at the right time

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How does Interest-Based Advertising work?

Online ads have become a daily part of life on the Internet. They appear on almost every site you visit. And, you’ve probably noticed… many of these ads are tailored specifically to you, based on what websites you’ve been to and what products you’ve looked at in the past.

When a person visits a website, opens a shopping cart, or searches in a browser, companies identify her browser, along with her interests, by placing small text files called cookies on their computer.

The cookies on her browser gather information about her interest and send them to companies who group the information to audience segments. Advertisers can buy those segments and show the person an ad later that might be interesting to her.

What type of companies can be involved?

Ad Servers: technology that delivers the ad to the webpage

Agencies: help advertisers create ad campaigns, determine how to spend ad dollars.

Ad Networks: provide a way for advertisers to connect to publishers. Networks create a private marketplace for buying and selling ads

Exchanges: an open marketplace for buying/selling ads

Data Aggregators: combine data from multiple sources and create audience groups or “segments” based on particular characteristics like interests, demographics and more (for example, “Paris Travelers”)

Demand-Side Platforms: helps advertisers buy more efficiently and allow agencies to buy media across multiple ad exchanges through one interface.

What happens with a person’s data?

Cookies, beacons, and flash cookies are used to collect a person’s data. Data collected is generally used to include a person’s browser in an audience segment.

Cookies are used for other things too; enabling them on a computer can make navigating the web easier. Some companies collect data and sell it to other companies. Being familiar with company privacy policies helps people protect their privacy.

Opting out of interest-based advertising doesn’t mean people stop receiving ads. In certain cases, data may be combined with other sources (or with personal information) to produce more detailed profiles.

How does someone opt-out?

When a person opts out, either directly through a company or via Evidon’s Privacy tools, a cookie indicating that they’ve opted out is set by each company the person wishes to opt out from. Deleting cookies will remove that indicator and opt an individual back in.

For opt out options, see Evidon Privacy Tools.

In order for an opt-out to be listed at Evidon, the company providing the opt-out must, at a minimum, agree to not use data collected from the opted-out browser for 3rd party ad customization purposes. Some companies will provide additional opt-outs for other categories of data use (for example, analytics), or will automatically avoid other categories of use you opt out. For information about each company’s opt-out policy, refer to the company’s privacy policy.

Since opt-outs listed at Evidon are generally specific to a particular kind of data use, companies that a person opt out from may still collect data about them for other purposes, unless their opt-out policies say otherwise.

Opting out of ad customization is not the same thing as opting out of ads. People will still see ads, and in some cases ad promoting the same products. But those ads will not be customized by the companies they have opted out of.