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why you shouldn’t block personalised ads, even though you think you should.

Charlotte Needham
cookies and privacy

Ad blocking is estimated to be used by 22% of internet users in the UK in 2018. Internet users often block ads due to three main worries; security, privacy and speed. Ad blockers can be useful for blocking those annoying full screen pop-ups, keeping your browsing data private and speeding up ad-heavy sites: but blocking ads could be killing your favourite blogger site, and not accepting cookies means that when you do receive ads, they will be irrelevant – not tailored to your wants and needs.

what are cookies and what do they do?  

Cookies are little packets of data that a computer receives when you visit a website. Your computer stores it in a file located in your web browser. 

Cookies can keep track of user behaviour. This includes information on the visits and the activity on the website. Letting cookies track your online behaviour is not always a bad thing – they can track things like products viewed or left in your cart, and if you didn’t accept cookies when you returned to the website, your basket would reset to empty. 

Since the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, all websites are required to ask users to either accept or decline cookie tracking. Although a lot of users do say yes to these pop-ups, there is a portion of them that say no. When you say no to cookie policies you are telling the website that it cannot track your behaviour. This includes the products or pages you view and what you leave in your shopping basket. Doing this means that advertisers cannot target you with personalised ads using this data. 

irrelevant or relevant ads: which would you prefer?

In June 2019, it was reported that  79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalised to reflect previous interactions that the consumer has had with the brand. This type of personalisation in digital ads is only possible if cookies have been accepted for that brand’s website. 

When you don’t allow cookie tracking, advertisers are not able to personalise digital adverts to your wants and needs based on your browser data. You will receive ads that are far less suited to you and will sometimes seem completely irrelevant. Without browsing data, advertisers are only able to target users based on demographic information. If this is done well you will still be served relevant ads – but it’s a lot less likely that you will see ads that answer your prayers.  

There are many reasons why users might say no to cookie policies. But if you want to see relevant ads that show you exactly what you’re looking for, then it’s actually in your interest to accept cookies and allow advertisers to serve you ads that give you value. 

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