If you have ever browsed the web, online shopped, or used social media, you have likely been asked about cookies. Cookies are everywhere and are a hot topic nowadays with every website trying to get their hand in the cookie jar. However, many people don’t actually know what cookies are, and how they’re impacted by cookies.
When most people think of a cookie, they think of a sweet snack with chocolate chips in it. But, for the purpose of this article, let’s keep it to the more complicated type of cookies – “browser cookie”, “HTTP cookie”, or “internet cookie”.
Cookies are the way that websites are able to identify you. Whenever you visit a website, the website will keep a unique code, or a “cookie”, that only applies to you. Using these cookies, the website will be able to remember you and your shopping habits in order to best serve you.
Have you ever been online shopping, and had items in your shopping cart but decided you weren’t ready to purchase them just yet and you just wanted to keep browsing? Have you also noticed that when you go to a different page and come back, those items are still in your cart? That’s all thanks to cookies! Without cookies, the website would forget who you were every time you go to a different page on the website and delete everything out of your cart. It would be like having to log onto Facebook every time you click on a different page.
Essentially, cookies can remember any type of information related to you and your browsing habits. They can remember information like the language setting you chose, the pages you have visited, and the time spent on each webpage. All of these features of the internet would not be possible without cookies.
While cookies exist as an overarching term, there are three main types of cookies: first-party cookies, second-party cookies and third-party cookies. A website’s direct information about you is a first-party cookie.
While people are skeptical about the use of data on the internet, cookies were genuinely made for the benefit of internet users. Before the cookie, using the internet was like talking to someone with short-term memory loss! But with the development of cookies, we’ve seen that they are an essential part of the internet, and will not be going away anytime soon.
Fundamentally, third-party cookies work in the same way as their first-party counterparts; however, they can track you across multiple webpages.
Have you ever looked at trips to Cancun on a travel website, then the next day you are seeing hotel packages all over the internet? This is because your web browser and other companies have stored third-party cookies and are using this information to send you targeted ads. Therefore, you are leaving a “trail of breadcrumbs” every time you surf the web, and the internet is tracking your browsing history to offer you the most personalized ads.
Third-party cookies are not essentially “bad” per se. I mean, if you’re going to be shown an advertisement, it might as well be one that is of interest to you. However, the problem here is one of privacy. This is the double-edged sword of internet advertising.
Third-party companies use the cookies from websites you visit and sell them to advertisers. They are then able to build a profile on you and your personal internet history to target advertisements to you. Third-party cookies are sold across the internet to different advertisers that you did not show explicit interest in. That is why third-party cookies are being eliminated.
While personalized ads were a key benefit of third-party cookies, Google recently announced that they will phase out the use of third-party cookies in their adworks and on the Chrome browser by 2022. This means that ads will no longer be customized towards internet users across websites.
Once third-party cookies disappear, targeted ads are likely to revert back to contextual advertisements, much like how magazine ads operate. This will change the landscape of online advertising.
Third-party cookie’s days are numbered. Targeted ads will soon be a way of the past, and companies will need to find a new way to reach their target customers. This call for change will make all online advertisers reconsider their marketing strategies.
I know it’s easy to discuss B2C when it comes to cookies – you buy a shirt online, you know get shown ads of similar shirt styles – simple. But when it comes to B2B, it’s a different ball game.
B2B marketing is difficult as is, when it comes to reaching their desired target market. Now with third-party cookies becoming obsolete, reaching and identifying potential clients is even harder. However, targeting the exact industry you want to target is made easier when you opt for advertising in niche B2B publications.
By advertising in niche publications, B2B advertisers can reach the exact target audience and get their attention. This is becoming an increasingly popular way to advertise in the B2B market space. And certain tools can show you exactly who is viewing your ads so you can follow them through your sales pipeline.
With all these changes coming in the advertising world due to the death of third-party cookies, it’s important that businesses stay on top of these new internet regulations.
Opt to advertise in niche publications through ActiveConversion to combat the loss of cookies. Learn more about advertising in niche publications: https://activeconversion.com/adconnect/.
About Andrew Quinteros
Andrew is a student at the University of Alberta School of Business studying marketing and currently works on the marketing team at ActiveConversion. He focuses on market research and helps with client support - among other things! Andrew has a passion for content marketing and copywriting, and is a creative & artistic student with a professional and savvy personality!