HOW TO LEVERAGE ON COOKIE TRACKING TO MAXIMISE YOUR CAMPAIGNS RESULTS
For someone who is new to the world of marketing, cookie tracking might sound like chasing baked goodies.
But, however sweet and simple it may sound; these same cookies are now in the middle of a big debate.
As far as internet privacy is concerned, the latest General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is clearly focusing on cookies. It is undoubtedly one of the most pressing legal issues for online marketers in the current times.
Cookies are text files that are small in size, and perform the function of collecting pieces of user-data during web browsing.
Cookies alone do not track data to figure about you personally; all they do is to provide your trending web browsing information. Although, when aggregated together, they carry the possibility of being used to build a persona for predicting web browsing trends and behaviors.
This strategy has been hailed as behavioral advertising. Where on one hand, it provides marketers with amazing insights into consumer practices, on the other it can be risky when misused. The Cambridge Analytica scandal perfectly exemplifies how behavioral marketing has its downside.
Still, it’s not that all cookies are evil.
Cookie tracking helps gain pertinent information regarding which consumers are looking for your product, where they are seeking from, and what are the chances of them revisiting your site.
As a matter of fact, cookies continue to be a powerful tool for marketers, providing enriching details about a specific target audience.
Ethical cookie tracking is not only possible, but also holds great potential to improve conversions following an uncomplicated and data-driven strategy.
Still doubtful? Let’s dig in more.
What is Cookie Tracking?
Cookie tracking offers you a way to collect user-data with every site visit.
From the consumer front, cookies prove to be helpful in online shopping as, for example, they store your cart information even after you leave the page.
On the marketer’s front, cookies prove to be extremely helpful understanding consumer engagement, preferences and frequency of site visits.
This is a good example on how cookies are used for dynamic remarketing in Google Ads or for the Dynamic Product Ads in Facebook, both options are among the most effective ways for e-commerces to increase their online sales.
This is a treasure of information for marketers who are actively seeking ways to improve, change or customize content to meet the needs of their target audience.
Above all, it provides valuable metrics that have the potential to revamp existing marketing strategies.
Still, all cookies are not made similar. Where some cookies contain the possibility of privacy violations and risks, there are others that are critical for web functionality.
Let’s check out the finer details of our contemporary cookie jar.
Some cookies are required to ensure a positive user experience. Without these cookies, it wouldn’t be possible to ensure features like log-in data, authentication, session management etc.
Such cookies play an important role in ensuring smooth web functioning and can’t be deleted by users.
Other than this, cookies can also improve the user interface along with providing a hassle free and customized user experience. They are typically known as performance and functionality cookies. Although highly helpful, these are not absolutely necessary.
Users can disable such cookies, this might end up disabling certain functions on a site such as video players.
The browser activity tracked by Web analytic and customization cookies involves individual users. It provides website owners with data pertaining to who visited their site, the duration of their stay and the type of content which has been seen by them.
Besides these, there are advertising cookies that work to personalize the ad experience for users. Cookies like these are tracked across different sites and assist marketers to make sure that a particular ad doesn’t come across a user repeatedly, and even help them customize ads to match the web behavior of the users.
Social networking cookies are one of the latest trends in the world of web tracking. These cookies enable users to directly share content from a site to their social media accounts. Although quite helpful to enhance user experience, these cookies have triggered a controversy around third-party cookie sharing. These cookies gather private information and put the user-security at risk.
It is because of these cookies that a number of new regulations, like the GDPR have been put into action.
There’s nothing to worry though as you can still make use of cookie tracking to improve your business without violating the GDPR regulations.
What Data Can You Pull From Cookie Tracking?
The GDPR regulations disallow all websites to track cookie data unless the user has given explicit consent to do so.
Performance and functionality cookies that come under the category of necessary cookies are excluded from these regulations.
Still, it is important to remark that the GDPR did not put an end to cookies.
There are a number of users that permit sites to track activity while browsing.
Utilizing this data helps you with pertinent information to not just only improve your product range but also find the inefficiencies in your marketing plan. This is particularly important when you are running a lead generation campaign and want to make the right adjustments to optimize the ROI.
So which type of data can you pull with the help of cookie tracking?
Interests and Online Shopping Trends
If you are seeking ways to optimize sales for your ecommerce site, then cookie data can prove to be extremely helpful to give insights about your demographic; including how your website is used by consumers and what are the chances of them buying from you again.
Without cookies a user would have to login each time after viewing a new product.
Thanks to cookies, it is not the case!
Thriving ecommerce sites combine both necessary and unnecessary cookies to enhance user experience and ensure an increase in conversions. Cookie tracking also helps building customized retargeting campaigns, like sending notifications to clients after they leave a full cart without buying or providing them with coupons on new site visits.
Location and Language Preferences
Location and language tracking is another sphere where cookies can prove to be quite useful. When it comes to geo targeting, local campaigns or assessing the location of your consumers cookies can help you a lot.
When you know where and who is buying your products, it is easy for you to create targeted ads, along with assessing areas where your marketing plan is already working.
Cookie tracking of this sort improves localization practices and increases conversions for your business. Similarly, it also proves beneficial for users using different languages by helping them save their language preferences for each time they visit your site.
Previous Browsing Activity
Cookie tracking helps you check out the previous browsing activity of a user, including the time they logged in, pages that were visited and how fast they came back after leaving. But, it is only possible if the user has not cleared the cookies from the time of their last visit on your site.
Previous browsing history can be quite helpful in finding out which parts of your site are not functioning optimally. For instance, if you see that a number of visitors leave the site after visiting your FAQ page, it might imply that your page failed to show the information they were looking for. Similarly, it can also help you figure out broken pages, out of order links etc.
Cookies help you find out the duration for which a user stayed on any of your pages. This is valuable information for marketers who are seeking ways to work on their web traffic, as well as identify unproductive pages.
By knowing the time spent by users on a certain page, it is easier for you to figure out how engaging your content is, whether your links are functioning properly, as well as whether you are getting desired conversions.
Let’s not forget that cookies also help you to identify pages with a high bounce rate, we have already discussed here what bounce rate is and how to lower it on your website.
The knowledge of time spent can prove to be a valuable optimization factor for marketers. You can review pages that make users log off instantly. On the other hand, pages that show long visits can be considered for paid ads and promotions etc.
A website’s structural design is defined as information architecture. A website with a strong structural design must be able to make it easy for users to pass through sales funnels, finally leading to improved conversions.
Websites with a poor structural design fail to impress users and ultimately affect conversions in a negative way.
Cookies are useful to figure out the subpages visited by users while browsing your site. This will help you see the effectiveness of your information architecture, along with finding strategies to enhance it.
Checking out these cookies can help you in building a high end website that performs well in terms of conversions.
The Future of Cookie Tracking
Currently, Safari has enabled a smart tracking prevention, and Chrome too makes it easy to clear, enable and manage cookies for users. Firefox also offers a default feature to block third party cookies.
Does it imply that third-party cookie tracking no longer exists?
Quite possible. But, despite this, there is still the option for marketers to collect the information they need to personalize ads.
New developments in web analytics (such as the recently launched Google Analytics 4) and PPC campaigns provide experiences that resemble cookie tracking. One way to understand the needs of consumers to customize content is to utilize behavioral data gathered from online advertisements.
Tools such as people-based targeting methods are useful to collect exclusive user data to design new ad campaigns. A number of brands already have access to customers data like email addresses, purchases made and devices used. It is this data that can be utilized in a first party targeting campaign to target individual clients rather than a general dataset .
Contextual advertising, in which ads run on pages with similar products, is also on the verge of rise. So, if a user is searching for a car, he/she is shown an ad for tires on the same page. This way of content targeting might appear direct and basic but it works. This is also the basic set-up of Google Ads running on the display network.
It’s time to go beyond data and assess a user’s holistic profile.
The cookie laws in the U.S. and EU differ from each other, and one must be aware of local laws before giving in to a strategy.
Cookie tracking offers a wonderful way to know the consumers you want to target, increase conversions and generate leads.
Cookies help enhance user experience by making a way for smooth sales funnels.
On the whole, cookies are not just all good or all bad.
With the right implementation, they enhance web experiences.
When used improperly, they are also likely to disturb critical marketer-user dynamics.
As a leading digital marketing agency in Hong Kong we help our clients to make the most out of the latest cookies technologies in order to improve their website pages and the performance of their online campaigns.
Understanding clearly the online behavior of your clients is key to reach the best results in terms of sales and lead generation. Defining your client’s persona is one of the most important steps to take when preparing your marketing plan.
If you are not sure how to strategize on the information collected by the cookies used in your website or online ads get in touch with us.