Online Marketing – When the digital cookie crumbles

By Greenlight | 13 Mar 2012

Browser 'cookies' are the life blood of online marketing. These tiny dumb text files tell us where our site traffic comes from, in what quantities and what it does when it gets there. But the humble Cookie is under threat from many angles.

Google's use of secure servers for all logged in traffic means that increasing amounts of natural traffic is now stripped of its valuable meta data revealing precious information about its source. The rise of multi-platform consumer usage patterns means that a traffic system linked to a single device is no longer sufficient to reveal the full click-path of your potential customer as they hop from desktop to mobile to tablet each with a different Cookie. And, as if that wasn't enough, the EU Commission is now joining the hunt threatening to make Cookie dropping an optional rather than a default condition of browsing.

Come May 26 2012, European privacy laws come into force. All UK websites must offer users opt-in consent tools to allow Cookies to pass information about browsing activities to 3rd parties.

Online marketers have just a little over a month to prepare. You will have to re-examine how you track and optimise your marketing spend in the light of the multiple threats to cookie-based data which currently provides you with almost all your data.

So what options are available? Here's our brief, easy to read slide pack with an overview. It highlights options available and covers:

  • What a cookie is?
  • Why is it under threat?
  • Why is this a problem?
  • What can marketers do about it?