Our devices have become one of the most significant elements of our lives. Regardless if it is our phone or computer, we spend the better part of our day on them. With the accelerated growth of the Internet and new technological trends, our devices are constantly evolving, allowing them to impact every aspect of our lives. We can use them for studying or even for working due to the sudden popularity of remote work. We can even have a tour of a museum without even leaving our home. And that is just the beginning. The opportunities our devices and the Internet can give us will just continue to grow.
Rise of online tracking
This has caused a severe increase in our online presence, and with that surge in the amount of online data exchanged daily. Whenever you use any element of the Internet, you leave a data-trace behind you that reveals various information about you. Websites use that data to track your browsing activity, your behavior, your computer setup and any other data about you they can gather from your browser. While this type of tracking is usually done for websites to provide you with better service or improve their advertising strategy, this is not its only purpose. Along with all these other purposes, browser fingerprinting used to prevent fraud can make a real difference in ensuring you stay safe online.
Why do websites track your online activity?
Every once in a while, we all had a feeling our computers and the Internet knew more than we expected. You were googling the best escape room for your birthday party, and suddenly, ads for escape rooms kept jumping out to you on various websites or even on your social media feeds. This is one of the ways your browser activity is tracked and used by the websites.
By tracking your behavior, they can get a better indication of your preferences and make sure they target you with ads that are actually relevant for you that are more likely to result in sales. This helps businesses to improve their revenue streams while at the same time allowing the customers to find the products they are looking for faster. This might be a little bit annoying on occasions when you purchase the product, but the website continues recommending it. Even worse, sometimes it will suddenly give you a recommendation for a product that would be a better option than the one you actually got. Amazon, we are looking at you.
Companies have always tried to find better ways to track their customers’ activity to improve customer satisfaction and maximize their revenue. The techniques they were using before are no longer enough. People are spending more time online, businesses are undergoing digital transformation, and their strategies must also adapt. With the development of technology and, subsequently, browser tracking techniques, there are now more accessible and much more effective solutions they can use.
But, with the growing realization of how much of our data is available online, many internet users are becoming more concerned about the concept of online privacy. If so many different websites are tracking our browser activity, how can we know they are using that data for good? We shouldn’t be afraid of the online world, the Internet helps us to be social, and it also helps us to make various parts of our lives easier. It is important to know the facts behind browser tracking, why websites use it, and how you can benefit from it to reduce our fear of privacy loss.
How can we benefit from browser tracking?
The truth is that websites use browser tracking for various reasons, most of which are connected with their desire to improve user experience and increase sales. You probably know some examples of tracking that you even consider useful without even realizing it is the tracking that makes them so valuable. Here are some examples of browser tracking we have all benefited from:
- Video streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime, or YouTube use the information they collect to give you more personalized recommendations on which video or show to watch next. How many times have you thanked the gods of Netflix for giving you a valid suggestion so you don’t have to waste hours finding something you would want to watch?
- Ecommerce websites such as Amazon, Asos, or Zalando collect data on items you view and the ones you end up purchasing so they can suggest similar products or fashion styles. While they do this to increase the chance of a sale, it is undeniable that this makes shopping easier for us.
- Even search engines like Google use device and browser fingerprinting to determine your location and similar elements that might help them provide you better service. Use, for example, a situation when you need a dentist, and you use Google to search for it. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Google to provide you with details about dentists around the world, as that would be of no use to you. By determining your location, it can give you a relevant suggestions and help you find a dentist that is near you.
- Fraud prevention is also one of the main benefits of browser fingerprinting and tracking, as it allows businesses to determine if someone has taken over your account or stolen your identity. By combining all the details your computer reveals to your browser, the website can create your unique profile and recognize the pattern of your usual behavior. This makes it easier for websites to identify any discrepancies that might indicate fraudulent attempts and prevent them before they can cause any damage. Imagine what kind of difference this can make in preventing fraudsters from gaining access to your account and stealing your money or purchasing goods or services, causing damage to you and the business.
While it is understandable that internet users have some worries about the matter of their online privacy, the benefits of browser tracking definitely outweigh the doubts. That doesn’t mean you should stop protecting yourself from online dangers. Online security is everybody’s responsibility, and only by taking all necessary steps can you ensure you stay safe.
Passionate Writer, Blogger and Amazon Affiliate Expert since 2014.