Ad tracking, also known as post-testing or ad effectiveness tracking, is in-market research that monitors a brand’s
performance including brand and advertising awareness, product trial and usage, and attitudes about the brand versus their
Depending on the speed of the purchase cycle in the category, tracking can be done continuously (a few interviews every
week) or it can be “pulsed,” with interviews conducted in widely spaced waves (ex. every three or six months). Interviews can
either be conducted with separate, matched samples of consumers, or with a single (longitudinal) panel that is interviewed over
Since the researcher has information on when the ads launched, the length of each advertising flight, the money spent,
and when the interviews were conducted, the results of ad tracking can provide information on the effects of advertising.
The purpose of ad tracking is generally to provide a measure of the combined effect of the media weight or spending
level, the effectiveness of the media buy or targeting, and the quality of the advertising executions or creative.
Advertisers use the results of ad tracking to estimate the return on investment (ROI) of advertising, and to
refine advertising plans. Sometimes, tracking data are used to provide inputs to Marketing Mix Models which marketing science
statisticians build to estimate the role of advertising, as compared to pricing, distribution and other marketplace variables
on sales of the brand.
There are several different tools to track online ads: banner ads, ppc ads, pop-up ads, and other types. Several online
advertising companies such as Google offer their own ad tracking service (Google Analytics) in order to effectively use their
service to generate a positive ROI. Third-party ad tracking services are commonly used by affiliate marketers. Affiliate
marketers are frequently unable to have access to the order page and therefore are unable to use a 3rd-party tool. Many
different companies have created tools to effectively track their commissions in order to optimize their profit potential. The
information provided will show the marketer which advertising methods are generating income and which are not and allows him to
effectively allocate his budget.
Privacy can entail either Personally Identifying Information (PII) or non-PII information such as a site visitor's
behavior on a website. PII refers to any information that can be used to identify an individual. For example, age and physical
address alone could identify who an individual is without explicitly disclosing their name, as these two factors are unique
enough to typically identify a specific person.
Some experts such as Steve Rambam, a private investigator specializing in Internet privacy cases,
believe that privacy no longer exists; saying, "Privacy is dead – get over it". In fact, it has been suggested that
the "appeal of online services is to broadcast personal information on purpose." On the other hand, in his essay The Value
of Privacy, security expert Bruce Schneier says, "Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing
wrong at the time of surveillance."
Risks to Internet privacy
Companies are hired to watch what internet sites people visit, and then use the information, for instance by sending
advertising based on one's browsing history. There are many ways in which people can divulge their personal information, for
instance by use of "social media" and by sending bank and credit card information to various websites. Moreover, directly
observed behaviour, such as browsing logs, search queries, or contents of the Facebook profile can be automatically processed
to infer potentially more intrusive details about an individual, such as sexual orientation, political and religious views,
race, substance use, intelligence, and personality. Further, even without any historical behavioural data, there are a
large number of insights which can be generated solely by tracking onsite user interaction like post code, name and local
Those concerned about Internet privacy often cite a number of privacy risks — events that can compromise privacy — which
may be encountered through Internet use. These range from the gathering of statistics on users to more malicious acts such
as the spreading of spyware and the exploitation of various forms of bugs (software faults).
Several social networking sites try to protect the personal information of their subscribers. On Facebook, for example,
privacy settings are available to all registered users: they can block certain individuals from seeing their profile, they can
choose their "friends", and they can limit who has access to one's pictures and videos. Privacy settings are also available on
other social networking sites such as Google Plus and Twitter. The user can apply such settings when providing personal
information on the internet.
In late 2007 Facebook launched the Beacon program where user rental records were released on the public for friends to
see. Many people were enraged by this breach in privacy, and the Lane v. Facebook, Inc. case ensued.
Children and adolescents often use the Internet (including social media) in ways which risk their privacy: a cause for
growing concern among parents. Young people also may not realise that all their information and browsing can and may be tracked
while visiting a particular site, and that it is up to them to protect their own privacy. They must be informed about all these
risks. For example, on Twitter, threats include shortened links that lead one to potentially harmful places. In their email
inbox, threats include email scams and attachments that get them to install malware and disclose personal information. On
Torrent sites, threats include malware hiding in video, music, and software downloads. Even when using a smartphone, threats
include geolocation, meaning that one's phone can detect where they are and post it online for all to see. Users can protect
themselves by updating virus protection, using security settings, downloading patches, installing a firewall, screening email,
shutting down spyware, controlling cookies, using encryption, fending off browser hijackers, and blocking pop-ups.
However most people have little idea how to go about doing many of these things. How can the average user with no
training be expected to know how to run their own network security (especially as things are getting more complicated all the
time)? Many businesses hire professionals to take care of these issues, but most individuals can only do their best to learn
about all this.
In 1998, the Federal Trade Commission in the USA considered the lack of privacy for children on the Internet, and
created the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA limits the options which gather information from children and
created warning labels if potential harmful information or content was presented. In 2000, Children's Internet Protection Act
(CIPA) was developed to implement safe Internet policies such as rules, and filter software. These laws,
awareness campaigns, parental and adult supervision strategies and Internet filters can all help to make the Internet safer for
children around the world.