It is not a coincidence that your Web ads, whichever site you may be on, match your interests or indeed your browsing history. Cookies are making advertising increasingly more effective.


So what are they?

Cookies are the passive part of a tracking mechanism. They are usually small text files with ID tags that are stored on your computer's browser directory. Cookies are created when you visit a website that uses tag management to keep track of your movements within the site, helps you resume where you left off, remembers your registered login, theme selection, preferences, and other customization functions.

The next time you visit that site, your PC checks to see if it has a cookie that is relevant (that is, one containing the site name) and sends the information contained in that cookie back to the site.

Some cookies are even more sophisticated. They might record how long you’ve spent on each page of a site, the links you click, even your preferences for page layouts, colour schemes and language. They can also be used to store data on what is in your ‘shopping cart’, adding items as you click.


Good things about cookies:

  • Cookies limit the number of times an ad is shown particularly in the case of annoying popup ads. Cookies ensure that a popup only shows up once per visit.

  • Cookies help the website you're viewing and remembers the pages you've visited, enabling ads to show up in a particular order.

  • Cookies enable advertisers to know how many times their ads were shown on publishers' websites.

  • Cookies allow advertisers to keep track of how many people visited the advertisers' websites through a click or a response on the ads shown by third party ad serving companies on publishers' websites. This feature helps both the ad serving company and the advertiser determine if a particular advertising campaign produced the desired results.

  • If you do not complete the purchase on a website and return to the online store at a later time or date, the website can retrieve the items in your basket from the cookie information stored on your device.


Types of Cookies

  • Session cookie

Also called a transient cookie, this is erased when you close the Web browser. Session cookies do not collect information from your computer.

  • Persistent cookie

Also called a permanent cookie, or a stored cookie, a cookie that is stored on your hard drive until it expires or until you delete the cookie. Persistent cookies are used to collect identifying information about the user, such as Web surfing behaviour or user preferences for a specific Web site.


Good news!

When cookies first started to appear, there was controversy. Some people were worried that their data was collected without their consent, which could then be used to build a picture of their browsing habits. EU law now requires all sites that use cookies to seek your express permission to store and retrieve data about your browsing habits. You can see this when you first visit a site’s home page.


Cookies: here today, gone tomorrow?

People are using increasingly more mobile platforms, across multiple devices. This could therefore make cookies obsolete, and sooner than we think. Cookie tracking has become outdated. It lacks the sophistication to accurately identify consumers. The tracking is limited to a single browser within a single device. Technology needs to adapt, and is expected to do in the next 3 years or so. Cookieless tracking will place greater importance on cross-channel attribution modeling to accurately access publisher performance and overall effectiveness.

Here at The Media Trader, we are using cookieless tracking mechanisms. Instead, we implement unique user ID technology (UID) as a tracking device. This means that when users click onto our website, they will be given the same ID no matter what device they are on.


14 days until the Web Summit. See you there!




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