Chocolate chips, macadamia, ginger, thinking of cookies can make us all drool with anticipation! But when it comes to IT, computer, smartphone, the world wide web etc… well that’s another story! Still they are so extremely important on so many accounts and instead of shying away from it, we should all learn how to manage and use them.
But what are cookies exactly?
There are actually 2 types of cookies – the FIRST party cookies which are hosted on your site and track & save user activity on your site and THIRD party cookies which help to track the activity of your users on websites outside of your own provided that they are in your network of advertising sites.
Is it a win/win or win/lose game?
On the marketeers side, cookies are a godsend and generally an essential part of any digital marketing strategy as by tracking the activity of the users, they allow the marketeers to understand consumers better – such as the use of retargeting ads, storing of the cart status which makes it easier to send reminders and make the overall shopping experience smoother, even allowing the tracking of conversions. By obtaining information on the user and their situation in the purchasing journey, it allows the marketeers to fine tune their interaction with their prospects… so essentially a win/win on both accounts.
Are cookies a threat to privacy?
The assumption being that by knowing and analysing behaviours, marketeers are in a better position to influence consumers to do their bidding. And if we are being honest, this is not entirely false, but it is a theory that has come to existence because consumers have gained the feeling that everything was done behind their backs, building up a sense of mistrust.
If you do think about it, when you go to a physical mom-and-pop stores to buy your daily essentials like shampoo, being a regular customer the store owner will probably inform you something like “hey your usual go-to brand just released a new scent, do you want to try that?” Wouldn’t that have felt super helpful and treated like a VIP?
However, of course we understand that in any situation, there are some sites who do abuse the knowledge gathered through cookie technology, with examples such as airlines or e-commerce sites featuring discriminatory prices to returning customers as highlighted in the above video. So, we can understand where this mistrust comes from. But what does this teach us? Well, simply that as in everything else in life, cookies should be used ethically and transparently – with a win/win relationship at the center of this process, and not to abuse the trust of consumers.
And how do we do that?
First, be reasonable, do not overdose on cookies. For all your first party cookies, ask yourself some simple questions such as why do you need them, where is it the most appropriate, how will you use this information and how will it benefit your customers too?
And we’ll talk about third party cookies… but maybe another day 🙂
– Article written in collaboration with Nadia Naji, our beautiful intern. –