A recent Guardian project – Tracking the Trackers – investigated how tracking works, and which companies are behind it. The results might surprise some: a visit to, say, the Huffington Post will be logged by tracking files from Google, Twitter, Doubleclick (Google’s advertising network), Facebook, Quantcast, Nielsen and Appnexus – and that’s nothing unusual …
Web advertising is much, much cheaper than its TV or print equivalent. For many companies, this means that the shift online is met with precipitously falling revenues. Trying to increase the value of online advertising is, therefore, central to the strategy of many sites online. User tracking helps this in two ways: firstly, it fixes the basic mechanics of tracking which adverts get clicked, and how often. The second method, though, is the key one.
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