Most of us are aware that online advertising can rely on user data from social media networks, online shopping purchases, Internet searches and more to create behaviorally targeted advertisements. In February 2013, Facebook announced partnerships with several companies to collect behavioral data (e.g. customer email lists, store loyalty card records, etc.) from outside the site. While Facebook, Google and other companies defend this practice and maintain that it’s to the benefit of consumers, these moves are widely seen as a way to boost companies’ revenue (New York Times, 2013).

How do consumers feel about these advertising practices? Studies indicate that users are unsettled by the continual collection of personal information both by search engines and other websites. In February 2012, the Pew Internet and American Life survey found that 68 percent of consumers aren’t comfortable with targeted advertising because it entails the collection of personal information. And, 73 percent of consumers decidedly disapprove of the use of tailoring search results in accordance with preferences gleaned from past search behavior (Pew Internet, 2012).

For marketers, gathering data gets them closer to the Holy Grail of advertising: sending the right message to the right consumer at the right time. And they’re apparently willing to gamble a fair chunk of change in the hopes that the data they’re purchasing is right on the money.

This infographic examines how targeted advertising works, how consumers users feel about it, and how you can become involved in internet privacy by becoming information security analysts.


“What You Didn’t Post, Facebook May Still Know”, New York Times, March 2013

“Search Engine Use 2012”, Pew Internet & American Life Project, March 2012

For a complete list of sources, please view the infographic.

Google, You Don’t Know Me! Information Security and Targeted Advertising
Embed in your site: