What Are Cookies Online?
Cookies are small little memory files that enable websites to remember internet users when they return for another visit, and many of them are vital if they are to work like they’re supposed to. It’s short for “magic cookie”, which refers to the fact that this data exchange is not always immediately obvious to users.
What Is a Tracking Cookie?
A tracking cookie is a little memory file that collects user data, and which can follow them around the internet. These cookies have long been used as the basis for UX optimization, advertising, and other important digital marketing functions.
Is Using Cookies Illegal?
First-party cookies are not illegal, but a number of laws have mushroomed around third-party cookies in recent years - notably GDPR, other similar data privacy frameworks, and cookie laws.
What Is the Problem With Cookies?
While some cookies are essential for the creation of a good user experience or enable certain website elements to function properly, others - and particularly tracking cookies - have raised a number of privacy concerns and can pose a security risk to user data. They’re now controlled by data privacy laws, and are being increasingly blocked by default by browsers.
Are Cookies Disappearing?
Cookies aren’t disappearing completely because many of them remain essential to website performance. However, increased privacy concerns, data privacy laws, and browser policy changes have all resulted in tracking cookies becoming less prevalent and less effective as a way to track users.
Are Cookies Important for Marketing?
Yes, cookies have long been important for marketing, with third-party cookies being vital to user experience optimization, targeted advertising, and analytics. However, new cookieless tracking technologies are making cookies less important to marketers as they look to adapt practices to the privacy requirements that have arrived in recent years.
What Is Going to Replace Cookies?
Cookies are being replaced by new, cookieless user tracking methods. Fingerprinting is an advanced cookieless tracking method that website owners can use as a more accurate, data secure alternative. Other methods include leveraging first-party cookie data, universal IDs, and contextual advertising.
What Is Cookieless Tracking?
Cookieless tracking - known sometimes as cookie less tracking - is a process that enables websites to analyze visitor behavior without the need for tracking cookies. Examples of cookieless tracking methods include fingerprinting, IP tracking, user login data, and device ID tracking.
What Is Fingerprinting/Fingerprint Tracking?
Fingerprinting is a method of tracking website users that works by collecting the technical specifications of their devices and software. Unlike tracking cookies, this data file can’t be deleted or blocked by users - providing accurate user data that meets data privacy requirements.
What Is Anonymized Tracking?
Anonymized tracking is another term for cookieless tracking. It refers to the practice of tracking user behavior online - either in-site or across the internet - without collecting data that can be used to identify who they are, or put them at risk.
How Does Cookieless Tracking Work?
Cookieless tracking works differently depending on the approach. Fingerprinting works by building a user ID from negligible data points that don’t put internet users at risk, while other less accurate approaches track users with theirIP addresses, user login activity, or device IDs.
What Does a Cookieless World Mean for Marketers?
The majority of marketers still rely on third-party cookies for website optimization, advertising, and analytics. Their disappearance will force them to transfer across to cookieless tracking technologies, and to review their cookie policies and processes to ensure no trace of them across their workflows.
Does Analytics Work Without Cookies?
Yes, analytics now works without tracking cookies. This is possible thanks to user fingerprinting - an advanced tracking technology that doesn’t rely on tracking cookies to collect data, and doesn’t put user privacy at risk.
What Is Cookieless Analytics?
Cookieless analytics is the process of analyzing website performance - and enabling it to grow - without using tracking cookies to collect data on user behavior. It’s an emerging market, with new data privacy laws and browser defaults blocking traditional analytics platforms from collecting data, and paving the way for solutions like Visitor Analytics.
Is Cookieless Tracking Accurate?
While some cookieless tracking approaches are far less accurate than the tracking cookie-enabled technology they are now replacing, fingerprinting is far more accurate.
Since it can’t be blocked by browsers, this approach is today the most effective way to legitimately track users, and we’ve written elsewhere about how to track cookieless without losing user data if you’re interested.
Is There a Cookieless Alternative To Google Analytics?
Yes, there is a range of analytics platforms that don’t use tracking cookies. Instead, they collect user data using IP tracking, fingerprinting, user login data, or device ID tracking. Others are leveraging AI and machine learning to create algorithms that can track users without the need for traditional methods.
Is Cookieless Tracking GDPR-Compliant?
No, cookieless tracking is not automatically GDPR-compliant. But since this law places strict controls on tracking cookies, it’s a step in the right direction. However, it’s important to check that the cookieless tracking service provider has privacy-by-design and other key building blocks of complete GDPR compliance.