Contextual advertising, in which advertisements are displayed based on the content of the current web page, is probably familiar to you. Suppose you are on the ESPN website and you see advertisements for sports-related products displayed throughout the page. In the course of reading a review of a mobile phone, you may come across advertisements for mobile accessories or advertisements for other brands of phones.
Interest-based or behavioral advertising, on the other hand, is all the rage these days, with advertisements being displayed based on your previous online activity and interests. For example, if you search for “hotels in Singapore” on a travel website, you will notice that almost every website you visit later will have advertisements for Singapore hotels. There is one theme that appears across all media – Singapore hotels – whether you are reading news stories on CNN or watching cooking videos on YouTube or scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed.
In other words, the advertisements continue to follow you around the Internet even after you have navigated away from the original website. With the help of browser cookies, online advertisers are able to track your movements across the web and serve you with more relevant advertising.
Remove yourself from interest-based advertising.
- Google – Go to the Google Ads Preferences page and make sure that the “Ads based on your interests” option is turned off.
- Facebook – Go to Facebook Settings and click Edit next to the setting “Ads based on my use of websites and apps,” then select “Off” next to the option “Show online interest-based advertisements.”
- Yahoo – Yahoo provides an Ad Interest Manager (AIM), which allows you to opt-out of interest-based advertisements with a single click. You can register your preference by going to privacy.yahoo.com/aim and clicking on the blue ‘Opt Out’ button.
- Microsoft – Go to choice.microsoft.com and disable the “Personalized ads in this browser” setting so that only generic advertisements are displayed. In Windows, users should go to the Start menu, select Settings – Privacy, and then turn off the option to “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps” in order to prevent personalized advertisements from appearing within applications.
- Amazon – Similar to Google, Amazon displays interest-based advertisements on its own websites as well as on third-party websites. Go to amazon.com/gp/dra/info and select the option that says “Do Not Personalize Ads from Amazon for this Internet Browser” under the “Do Not Personalize Ads from Amazon” section. Due to the fact that this is a cookie-based setting and not linked to your Amazon account, if you clear the cookies, your setting will be erased along with the cookies.
- Twitter – To disable interest-based advertising on Twitter, go to Twitter Settings on the web and uncheck the box that says “Tailor ads based on information shared by ad partners.” A similar procedure can be followed to enable “Limit Ad Tracking” in the Twitter app by going to Settings > Privacy > Advertising > Enable the “Limit Ad Tracking” setting.
- IOS – iPhone and iPad users can opt-out of interest-based ads from iAd, Apple’s advertising network, by going to Settings > Privacy > Advertising and turning on Limit Ad Track. Android users can go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising and turn on Limit Ad Track.
- Android – Open the Google Settings app on your Android phone and select Ads from the drop-down menu. Then select Opt out of interest-based ads from the drop-down menu.
The following video provides an explanation of interest-based advertising.