Still munching on web cookies? They offer nothing but empty calories

Written by on April 18, 2018

Digital marketing is a world that, until recently, was built around cookies. Since the past two decades, marketers have extensively relied on using web cookies – tiny HTTP files – to track contextual visitor data and to launch remarketing ads in an attempt to convert them into leads.

But now, that world seems to be crumbling under the growing pressure of new market forces. The use of cookies is becoming more restrictive because of stringent policies like GDPR. Internet companies like Google and Apple are following suit to ensure more privacy for users. Google has made it easier for Chrome users to disable cookies in their browser while Apple deletes third-party cookies from Safari browsers after 24 hours of their launch.

The world of web cookies is crumbling under the growing pressure of new market forces. Click To Tweet

The recent circus around Cambridge Analytica leaking Facebook users’ data to facilitate specific target marketing adds another blow to these practices that data brokers and online marketers had been using all these years.

Although GDPR applies only to the EU region and Safari accounts for only 20% of the global online traffic, cookie crumbling is steadily gaining momentum. Digital natives today are equipped with plenty of ad blockers to render cookies useless.

It is proving to be a less perfect science. Let’s face – cooking tracking doesn’t help you generate leads or propel your online marketing efforts to new heights. A 2016 finding by the data research firm Nielson concludes that more than 35% of cookie-based demographic targeting is inaccurate. Cookie bombing, also known as pixel tracking, is riddled with many blind spots and redundancies. It doesn’t work on more than 66% of mobile devices – a major loss for marketers in a mobile-first economy.

But if using cookies doesn’t hold the same swag for digital marketers anymore, doesn’t that leave them with lesser choices to reach out to their target audience. Is there a better, more reliable replacement for cookie bombing?

More than 35% of cookie-based demographic targeting is inaccurate. – Nielson research, 2016 Click To Tweet

The decline of cookies for retargeting is not necessarily a crisis if you think about all the new and less explored avenues that marketers are yet to venture out to.

Introducing the All-New Cookie Series

There are new and more scientific ways marketers can rely on to improve their audience reach, build better relationships, and convert leads into buyers. For example, Facebook has helped innovate new trends in digital marketing such as people-based marketing and friendvertising.

People-based is fast becoming a new favorite among online marketers because it takes a proactive approach to understand consumer behavior and aligns data across consumer devices/channels to deliver a cohesive omnichannel experience.

We are kickstarting The Cookie Series with an aim to discuss such novel ideas, invite marketers to share their learnings, and bring the best ideas to fruition. Click To Tweet

Friendvertising is the virtual equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising in the age of social media. When you pick up an attention-grabbing online ad, a newsletter, or a YouTube video manufactured by a product and share it with your friends in your social network, you become an advocate for that brand.

The upsurge of viral content across social platforms is the most obvious example of the rise of friendvertising. Friendverstising moves beyond the ‘customer is god’ dogma and treats customers as friends in order to nurture long-term relationships with them.

The targeting based on web cookies is dying, which is why we need to formulate new recipes to attract leads and win customers. In memory of the soon-to-be-obsolete web cookies, we are kickstarting The Cookie Series with an aim to discuss such novel ideas, invite marketers to share their learnings, and bring the best ideas to fruition. It will give marketers the fuel to fire up their lead generation engines and engage more deeply with their customers.

The Cookie Series will be a collective discourse for Go To Market (GTM) professionals to discover the palatable ingredients that entice prospects to become customers and the deliciousness that keeps them coming back for more.

Today’s digital marketplace is extremely volatile and constantly evolving; this series will also help GTM teams to adapt to the changes and keep pace with the advancement in technology that usually disrupts the status quo. In short, The Cookie Series will be an innovative and insightful place for marketing professionals to reflect on historical patterns and reinvent the rules of internet marketing.

As part of the first article in the series, we will discuss the importance of adjusting to the market needs and speed.

Cover illustration and images by Karthikeyan Ganesh

Full disclaimer: In case you were wondering, our website does use cookies to gather visitor data. We hope to change that soon. Stay tuned.

Manish Nepal

Marketer + Author + Ghost Writer. Fixing things with percussive maintenance since the 1980s.