Behavioural ads must respect users

Nick Stringer

Advertising is fundamental to the accessibility, affordability and dynamism of the internet, helping to pay for much of the content and services we all enjoy and use for free.

Behavioural advertising is based on anonymous web browsing activity, which is collected and grouped into interest 'segments' (such as cars or finance) to provide more relevant and useful marketing messages. It works using a cookie – a small file of random letters and numbers – which is placed on a computer's web browser to ensure the relevant advertising reaches the right 'segment' of users.

There is a range of different business models for behavioural advertising, varying in the scope of what information is used and how it is collected. For example: