Cookies are nothing but small pieces of data, like for example, username and password, that are used to identify your computer as you use a computer network. There are HTTP cookies that are specifically used to identify specific users and improve an individual's web browsing experience.
Now you might be thinking how does this all work?
Okay, simplifying it, the data stored in a cookie is created by the server upon your connection. This information is labelled with a unique ID to you and your computer. Now, when this cookie is exchanged between your computer and the network server, the server then reads the ID and it knows what information to specifically serve to you.
Cookies do not track an individual's identity. They just give information about your web browser and trends. But when it is combined with other relevant cookies, it can be used to create an online persona that will help the website owner to learn about the user behaviour of the individual. This helps the website owner a lot in devising retargeted campaigns.
Cookie data can help businesses understand user behaviour and some specific information such as the location from where their product or service is being searched, who is searching them, and how likely they are to revisit your website. Businesses run cookie-based ads in order to understand website visitor and their behaviour.
Benefits of cookie tracking
An individual (or a website visitor) can also benefit from a cookie because it helps you store your card information even if they exit the web browser. For business website owners too, it is advantageous because they are able to derive specific information about website visitors which helps to understand what content is working and which content is receiving good engagement and click through rates. This information helps marketers to redevelop/improve their content and tailor it as per the preference of the website visitor.
Let us try to have a deeper understanding of cookie tracking.
Some cookies are necessary which help businesses to fetch information such as log-in data, authentication, and session management which are essential in order to offer good user experiences. These are performance and functionality cookies which are absolutely essential to be included in a website as it enhances user experiences. But these cookies can be disabled by users which would restrict them from using some important features on a website.
As discussed earlier, there are certain cookies that help a website owner to track visitor details such as who is visiting their website, how long are they navigating on the website, and what features are they using on the website. These are nothing but web analytic and customization cookies. There are advertising cookies that are customized for a user's ad experience. Website owners track these cookies in order to show them tailored ads that align with their user behaviour and recent activities. Social networking cookies allow users to share content directly to their social media profiles directly from a website. The drawback with these cookies is that it collects personal information of the users and hence poses a risk. As a result, we have seen the emergence of the new GDPR regulations.
As per GDPR, a website owner can only track cookie data if a user gives consent, though cookies like performance cookies and functionality cookies are exempt from this law. You might have noticed while visiting websites where there appears a popup asking you to allow cookies. Giving permission to allow cookies would enable the website owner to track your website activity and preferences.
What data can you pull from Cookie Tracking?
Interests and Online Shopping Trends
For an e-commerce business, cookie data is of paramount importance because it gives valuable information to the website owner such as user demographics, how they are using your website etc. Cookies help e-commerce websites to save items in the shopping cart even after a customer abandons the purchase and moves out of the website. This is useful for both the website owner as well as the customer. It also allows the website to save payment and address information of the customer which would help the customer to complete the transaction at a later stage without having to take the trouble of feeding in payment and address information. These cookies help website owners to send notifications to customers about abandoned shopping carts.
Location and Language Preferences
These cookies help website owners in geotargeting users and also helps them understand where the customers are making the purchase from. Knowing the location from where the product is being ordered gives website owner/seller an understanding of which market/location to target and where they should spend money to target ads. These cookies also allow users browsing in other languages to save their language preferences at all times they revisit the website.
Previous Browsing Activity
These cookies help website owners to track a user's previous browsing activity (if they have not cleared their cookies). It helps a website owner with important information such as the time the visitor logged into the website, the pages visited, and how soon they returned back to the website.
These are some information a business owner can track with the help of cookies. It helps businesses understand the user behaviour and their preferences which will help them understand which locations and age group to target in the future. At Futurescape advertising, we can help you set up your e-commerce website for your business and help you drive traffic to your website through strategic marketing campaigns. To know more, do contact us for a free business call.