Internet “cookies” are what marketing firms use to track visitors’ Internet habits, showing the keywords searched for, which links were clicked, and length of time on a webpage. This data becomes a vital part of their marketing strategy, because the collected information is compiled and utilized as a marketing tool to increase the website’s traffic and improve its sales funnel.
While these internet cookies have been around for many years, they may soon be largely irrelevant. Why? There are numerous reasons.
First, they have been coming under fire as of late because complaints of lack of user privacy have become louder than ever.
Second, today’s internet cookies are giving their owners less information than ever before due to the tech giants’ concern regarding privacy. Did you know that the most common keyword retrieved from Google Analytics cookies is “not provided,” meaning it literally isn’t able to recognize what keyword the visitor searched for?
Third, cookies simply do not work particularly well on some of the more popular smart phones, and many advertisers are looking for alternate ways to get their message to the mobile masses.
Fourth, cookies are not always accurate. When a computer has multiple users, a cookie cannot discern when one person has logged off and another has logged on. As a result, a full one-fifth of cookie data collected is inaccurate.
Finally, and perhaps most important, technological giants Google, Microsoft and Facebook are beginning to develop their own systems that will be able to ignore cookies altogether and still achieve an even better result than a cookie could ever dream of – and to top it all off, will also work on mobile devices.
Google is readying a cookie alternative that will assign each computer user his/her own unique ID, which could then be followed when the consumer uses Google products, such as Gmail, the Google Chrome Web browser and Android phones.
Microsoft’s anti-cookie solution also involves a unique identifying number, which can then be tracked for information and advertising purposes among those using the Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems.
Facebook’s strategy is a bit different. They appear to be ready to do their own cookies, in a manner of speaking. When a consumer visits a particular website, Facebook will put a code bookmark of sorts on that page linking the user to that page. An advertiser can then, in turn, send a pertinent advertisement to the user.
There are still significant issues that need addressing. For example, will the users of these new data-collection systems be able to responsibly handle these more complete user profiles – or will they run amok and bombard consumers with more invasive advertising than ever before?