Did you know that when you’re online, companies are tracking what you do? It’s true! They’re constantly collecting data about your browsing habits, interests, and even your location. While this may seem a little creepy at first, it’s actually very beneficial for both companies and consumers. Let’s look at the different types of data companies track, why and what you can do to protect your privacy online.
What information do companies collect from you?
Companies often use tracking cookies in order to serve personalised adverts. When you click “yes” at the end of the terms and conditions agreement found on some web pages, your data may include:
Personal data such as your name, age, gender and even your social security number. Companies collect this information in order to help them organise information into different demographics in order to improve the way they market back to you. This helps advertisers understand what adverts they are attracted to.
Data usage the data you provide to a business is recorded and used for many purposes, including determining what kind of content (including ads) will be more likely engaged with. This helps the company create targeted advertisements that are better suited to your interests!
Behavioural data purchase histories, repeated actions, time spent, movement and navigation on the platform, and other types of qualitative data are covered under behavioural data. This helps platforms determine your “favourite” purchases or interactions so they can suggest other similar content/products.
Attitudinal data: Companies measure brand and customer experiences using data on consumer satisfaction, product desirability, and purchase decisions. Marketing agencies use this data for direct consumer research and creative analysis
How do companies use your information?
The information you provide helps build an accurate character profile and turns it into knowledge that gives actionable insights to businesses. Private data usage can be classified into three cases: selling it to data brokers, using it to improve marketing, or enhancing customer experience.
Sell your information to data brokers
Along with big data, another industry has seen rapid growth: data brokers. Data brokers buy, analyse, and package your data. Companies that collect large amounts of data on their users stand to profit from this service. Selling data to brokers is an important revenue stream for big tech companies.
Personalize marketing efforts
Personalized marketing is a new and powerful way to reach your customers with the perfect message at just the right time. By tracking you they respond best, businesses can alter or improve certain aspects of their campaign for better results!
To collect customer experience
The data collected from consumers can help businesses improve their customer experience. Businesses have access to various aspects of this information that may be analyzed for feedback on how they meet customer demands, including designing special offers and discounts as well as enhancing relationships with clients by showing them what is important in terms of value when it comes time to purchase something new.
Companies that track the most information
With millions of users on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that these companies have been able to amass an incredible amount of data about each person.
- Amazon. Amazon has recently admitted to storing many user data points, including phone numbers and passwords. The company is also known for storing information about your search terms as well as previously bought products
- Facebook. The Facebook data mining process begins with your phone number, personal messages and public comments being captured from all of the photos or videos you’ve uploaded onto their platform. This information is then used by them in order to provide demographic-based targeted ads for advertisers who want more consumers on board!
- Google. Google is a data miner. The search engine has been known to track and analyze almost everything about you, from your Gmail history (for VoLTE calls) all the way down to what browser preferences are set on Chrome with third-party cookies that they plant in people’s browsers without explicit consent or knowledge.
- Twitter. Twitter has become a platform that gathers sensitive user data through its “family of apps.” Twitter mines this information itself, but it also shares with other third-party companies for better profits–including those who develop MoPub and Admob ads networks which collect even more personal details than before!
- Apple. Apple is one of the most popular tech companies, but it still mines user data to make advertisements more personalized. Its systems allow you control over your privacy settings and once an app has been approved by Apple for publication on their iOS-based App Store they give all users’ information exclusively so that customized experiences can be created just for them.
- Microsoft. Microsoft primarily collects device-related data like system configurations, system capabilities, IP addresses, and port numbers. It also harvests your regular search and query data to customize your search options and make for a better user experience.
All of this data tracking may seem a little daunting, but it’s important to remember that as long as you are aware of what data is being tracked and why you can make informed decisions about the privacy settings for your accounts. At the end of the day, companies want to track your data because it helps them sell you more products and services. As consumers, you need to be mindful of which companies you trust with your personal information and take steps to protect your data when necessary. By being proactive and implementing some simple measures, you can keep your data more private and reduce the chances that it will be used against you.