The Internet of Behaviours (IoB) is the gathering of data that offers important information on client behaviours, interests, and preferences. It is a field where the data acquired from users’ online activities is analysed to try to obtain knowledge used in developing and promoting new goods.

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IoB is an extension of IoT

The Internet of Behaviours is an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is the interconnection of devices that results in a vast variety of new data sources. Both IoB and IoT extracts data from the physical world and try to use it to influence actions and behaviors through feedback loops.

Whereas IoT works with data collected through the connectivity of different devices to each other, IoB works with data obtained from user behaviors through their connectivity to different online services and goods.

The data gained in IoB is used to influence new ways to create a targeted user experience (UX), search experience optimization (SXO) used in advertising a company’s products and services.

Structure of IoB

IoB is made up of the following pillars:

  • Technology
  • Analytical data
  • Psychology (Behavioural Science)

How Data Is Collected in IoB?

In IoB, data on consumer behaviour may be gathered by different methods, such as:

  • websites that collect data
  • social media profiles
  • user gadget sensors
  • health monitors
  • and a variety of other devices.

Each of the mentioned method gathers data in its own way. For example, a website may keep track of the number of times a person visits a certain page or how long they remain on it.

Some of the data collected by marketing companies come from the information the user provides by interacting with a service linked to the company. Devices, such as cellphones, have the ability to easily track data such the user’s movements, their geolocation in real-time and even the websites they visit.

What’s next after the information is gathered?

The collected user data is then analyzed by companies to obtain knowledge for reasons such as:

  • formulating educated business decisions
  • improving marketing techniques
  • developing new custom products and services that provide better user experience.

Companies try to use the harvested data to modify user behaviour in marketing their products. For example, if a user visits an e-commerce company’s page selling smartphones more than twice, the company may then show them a pop-up ad offering them 15% discount off the purchase price of the smartphone.

How a company can use IoB data harvested from many different sources

To build an effective marketing strategy, a company can combine data harvested from many sources and evaluate it to make a marketing decision. Here is how it works:

  • Let us say first you visit a company’s Facebook page, and comment on a photo of their latest brand of smartphones.
  • A few days later you visit the company’s website and browse through pages of the identical smartphone brand.
  • After a few more days you watch a smartphone ad on YouTube.

What you might not realise is that the company might be keeping track of all your digital movements. Through tracking your data, the company can now build a profile of you which shows how big your interest is in the company’s new brand of smartphones. Using that profile, the company can then devise a strategy for converting you from being a "fan" into a customer.

The next time you visit the company’s website, the first thing you will see is a popup showing you discounts on smartphones that looks exactly the same as the one you have always wanted. Or the company might choose to be a bit more intrusive and send you an email Ted with a discount coupon on the same smartphone you have been ogling, if you are on their email campaign.

How big brands are benefiting from IoB

The use of IoB in online advertising is increasing daily as companies discover more ways of targeting certain persons or groups through their online behaviour.

Big companies such as Google and Facebook utilise behavioural data to provide targeted ads to users on their sites. These big companies sometimes even sell your data to each other. That is why sometimes after you search for a certain type of laptop on Google, you then find promoted content featuring laptops on your Facebook timeline.

Youtube, a Google product, also uses behavioural analytics to enhance the viewer’s experience by recommending videos that are based on your online behaviour. If you search a lot on Google about soccer results don’t be surprised to find soccer videos on your recommended videos on YouTube.


The Internet of Behaviours is a cutting-edge tool for businesses to effeciently market their products and services as well as influence user behaviour. Though IoB is still a developing frontier it is estimated that by 2023, 40% of the world’s population individual activity will be digitally tracked to influence their behavior.

Striking a balance between personalized offers and intrusion of privacy is the most important aspect that needs to be addressed in IoB in order to avoid adverse consumer reactions. Companies that participate in IoB will also have to beef up their cybersecurity to protect all that sensitive user data they collect. If that information falls into wrong hands it can lead to cybercrimes such as phishing.

Sydney Chako

Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Sytech Learning Academy. From Junior Secondary School to Tertiary Level Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.

1 Comment

Lawrence Ngwenya · January 27, 2022 at 2:43 pm

This was very informative how the world through becoming a global village big tech companies are getting a lot from information that we term to be of low importance but has turned to be the new gold.

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