Capturing Ads

In our world of big data today, it is not uncommon to see digital ads flooding all over the place. These ads are displayed on many webpages across the internet. When taking screenshots, you may or may not want these ads attached to your screenshots. We are going to discuss the way forward in either case.

I don't want ads on my screenshots

If you don't want ads to be displayed on your screenshots, you can easily hide them. 

I want ads to appear on my screenshots

If you are taking this route, there are some factors that may affect the desired result here. We will go through some of the most obvious ones and also see how the giant ads networks handle this from their ends. 

  • Geotargeting - Geotargeting is a feature that allows you to target your search ads to only appear to customers in a certain location, or set of locations, that you specify. Google, for example, uses this heavily for displaying ads on different webpages. They collect some information about the website's visitors including location/region and then display these targeted ads based on that location.

  • If the webpage you are capturing displays ads, chances are very high that the ads will be displayed based on the location that you set on the "Locations" option of the expert mode. If for instance, you set your capture location to Australia, the ads displayed on the page you want to capture will be specifically for the said location - Australia. If you don't want ads for that region, you can change the location to your desired choice. To know more about how Google's geotargeting works, you may look up this link.

⚠️ Stillio uses Data Center IPs only hence may be treated differently by the ads networks. The outcome is very unpredictable in this case.
  • User Behavior Profiling - Sites that allow advertisers such as Google to render ads on their pages usually embed cookies on such pages. These cookies can be used to track so many things that happen on the page. They can keep track of what pages get visited the most, how much time a user spends on each page, etc. These nitty-gritty details can build up a huge treasure trough for advertisers, and hence they can easily map the user to their interests based on their behavior online and display the appropriate ads.
  • Device Fingerprinting - the process of collecting information about the software and hardware of a remote computing device for the purpose of identification.  - Wikipedia. When a device's fingerprint is stored on a server, further requests coming from that device get mapped to it and these ads networks may build a pattern of activities of that device and then display their targeted ads based on the browsing history obtained so far from the device. 

    While fingerprinting can help advertisers display their ads with a decent level of accuracy, on the contrary, Stillio uses anonymous and customized browser environments for taking screenshots which makes fingerprinting by these ads networks difficult. Again, the expected result might be less than accurate.
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