What is ad targeting

Ad targeting is a form of advertising when retailers use various methods to target specific audiences based on their interests and behavior. For example, when you see ads in your Facebook newsfeed that are related to your earlier searches or previously visited pages.

What is habit tracking

Habit tracking is a process when companies track your online behavior in order to make their marketing more efficient. They need to know what kind of a person you are so they know how and what to sell.

Companies use software to analyze what information about you they have, because the more data they have, the better ads they tailor. Of course, they claim they do it for your own good – so you only see relevant content.

What are tracking cookies

Your browsing activity can be tracked across different websites and even different devices. Advertisers load your browser with cookies, and through a process called “cookie syncing” share your information with other entities that are tracking your digital lifestyle. You have something of an ID card of your online behavior.

Using sophisticated methods, it is even possible to associate two different devices belonging to you, the process is called a ‘cross-device tracking.’ If you are not signed to a web service, companies can associate devices based on your browsing habits. For example, your browsing activity on your laptop and on your phone. To do this entities share data, such as your browsing patterns, geo-location, and match the information. To learn more about cookies, click here.

You can delete cookies yourself and install various tools to your browser. For example, CleanWeb™, a product of Surfshark, blocks invisible trackers and spying ads.

However, there is a technique called browser fingerprinting – it is an ID you cannot delete. A website can access the data sent from your browser, like requested URLs or requesting IP addresses. Some software correctly identifies 99% of online users even if they switch browsers. 

How does a VPN help to avoid habit tracking

When you connect to a VPN service, your actual IP address is hidden by replacing it with another from one of the VPN’s servers you choose. Besides, you can quickly change your location and have unrestricted and fast access to any website.

Moreover, VPNs encrypt your traffic – it means, your private data is safe, and nobody can see what you are doing online.

Do VPNs help to avoid annoying ads

Some of the VPN service providers offer ad blockers. Ad blocker is a type of software that filters and removes advertising material. For example, your chosen ad blockers recognize content on the website that is flagged as advertising and blocks it from popping up on your screen.

If you choose a VPN with this feature, you are not only shielded from all of the annoying ads but also secured from scammers spying on your online activities.