Marketing efforts can be incredibly precise these days. It’s 2017, and that means that we’re living significant portions of our lives through computer screens smartphones, and televisions. That means we’re constantly exposed to advertising, and what’s more it means that advertisers are constantly getting to know us. The result is an environment that’s constant, innovative, and specified. Companies are always adapting their methods of reaching potential customers, and marketing efforts are getting smarter and more precise.

This is actually a good thing for most consumers. Because technology is helping marketers to get to know us better, most of us are seeing fewer irrelevant ads. Nevertheless, it’s always nice to know when and how these companies are approaching you, so here are a few tips on how to recognize when you’re the target of a campaign.

Research Marketing Techniques

You thought the first tip would be subtler didn’t you? Well, the truth is researching marketing techniques can be a quick process, and it’s actually kind of fascinating. For instance, with half an hour on the internet you can learn a lot about how companies target customers with social media tricks and techniques. You can also learn about overarching types of advertisement, such as the difference between direct response marketing and indirect marketing. A lot of this research will open your eyes in ways you didn’t expect, such that you’ll start to recognize targeting when you may never have before.

Consider Your Location

Because of the increasingly specified nature of marketing referenced previously, location is playing a bigger role than ever in the types of advertisements we see. Where you are can give you a hint as to what marketing campaigns you might encounter, and when you see them, you’ll know why. There are countless examples of this kind of thing becoming apparent. For instance, if your phone knows you’re near a beach you might start to see pop-up ads for a chain of surf shops. If you’ve just landed in Denver, you might hear more about Colorado marijuana lawyers who are expanding their businesses.

In the near future, this phenomenon is actually going to get even more precise. That’s thanks to Bluetooth beacons, which are tiny devices retailers are using to identify and interact with customers. That means those surf shops won’t just be appearing in pop-ups – they’ll be sending you notifications about their locations, or specific deals they might be running.

Recall Your Past Searches

Advertising isn’t as random as we sometimes think it is. We’re bombarded everyday by new notifications, banner ads, pop-ups, and all kinds of other outreach, and sometimes it seems like companies are just reaching out at random. But that’s just not how it works.

If you’ve been researching engagement rings with friends, for instance, you probably aren’t going to start seeing ads for Pandora’s latest charms, or sacred geometry pendants; you’re going to see engagement rings, and maybe even the specific ones you were looking at before. If you were recently checking out tour dates for your favorite band, you likely won’t start seeing ads for any old show they’re playing, but rather notifications for when they’re coming near you, or any shows that might be playing near you. Keeping these types of examples in mind you should begin to realize even as you’re typing out searches what your next batch of tech-based ads are going to look like.

Think Of Yourself Through Their Eyes

This is perhaps the best way to figure out when and how you’re being targeted in a marketing campaign. The best way to explain it is probably through podcasts, which have exploded as, essentially, a new branch of the advertising industry. Companies pay for podcasts and then have those podcasts’ hosts do “live reads” advertising their products. It’s a win-win. The interesting thing is that a lot of podcasts tend to advertise for the same companies, or the same batches of competitors. Why? Because, as one article explained it, these companies are new (or new-ish) and looking for positive associations with proactive, tech-savvy customers. They know exactly whom they’re going after. You, as the listener, are viewed as an open-minded individual looking to have a good time with a tech-based product, because that’s who most podcast listeners are, to some extent. Thus, you appeal to this given batch of companies looking for exactly that.

Seeing yourself this way, through the eyes of a marketing director, you’ll almost always be aware of when you’ve been selected as an advertising target.