You may have been surprised by an ad after searching for a product or service on the web, promoting exactly what you were looking for. Not coincidence. You are constantly watched on the web by the big technology companies, which have extremely sophisticated resources to stay on top of the users’ interests.
Below are the methods used by Google, Facebook and Apple to track users’ browsing.
To see what its users do on the web, Facebook uses a system called SSO (Single Sign-On), which allows the use of social network credentials on third-party websites and applications. When you do this, Facebook is able to view, follow and catalog your destinations on the web, which helps to define the advertisements presented to you.
Facebook applications such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and all others developed or acquired by the company help the flow of data about the user, allowing more precise targeting of advertisements, which consequently become more valuable, even if these apps by themselves do not display advertising.
The company also recently announced its own advertising network called Atlas, with the aim of displaying advertisements on other websites, outside of Facebook, and in mobile applications. Currently, the entire ecosystem of the company results in sponsored posts and advertisements only on its own social network.
The company also trusts SSO to track its users, which means that by logging into Google, you are connected to the entire company network.
In addition, Android also links each user to an ad identifier. The company’s advertising services, AdSense, AdMob and Doubleclick, pull this identifier to serve advertising on the Google banner network. The company also compiles data on what you do on YouTube, Gmail and the search engine to create your digital history. Yes, the sites you visit say a lot about you, and Google takes advantage of that to sell advertising.
Apple also has its means of tracking its users, which depend on its email address used for the company’s services on iOS and Mac OS X, and its iTunes account, which records its transactions in the store and in the ecosystem.
Your login linked to IDFA, an identifier for advertisers, a unique number linked to each of the iOS devices. The advertisements served by the iAd advertising network allow the identification of the user who receives the advertisement, which allows to know everything else that the person does within the ecosystem.