Cookies are tiny text files that are stored in an online browser, allowing companies to follow the trail of crumbs users leave behind as they travel the web. This technology first appeared in 1994 – and online retailers immediately recognized that cookies were no half-baked idea. Soon, companies were able to track which sites users visited as well as which ads they saw or interacted with.

Caramel Consumers’ Delight

Users’ Wish for Privacy Granted

With privacy a priority, Google recently rejected one “flavor” of cookies, relegating those installed by third parties back to the jar. The first-party cookies installed by the companies themselves, like the ones that store login info so that you don’t have to type in a username and password each time you visit, are safe. These, as opposed to the third-party cookies, are not for profit and instead, streamline users’ overall web experience.

Now Chrome browser users are presented with the option to reject cookies – a choice that many users make to protect their privacy. Under new regulations, the site must be more transparent in telling users how their information is being utilized. But explaining tracking in a concise, simple way is no easy task. The new rules don’t specify the verbiage, but they do specify that users be made aware.

Oatmeal Raisin’ a Ruckus

The Effect on Marketing

What does all this mean for marketers? What does this new cookie-free reality taste like? Not so sweet, at first. Marketers have used third-party cookies to track consumer behavior for decades, using the trends they identify to help accurately target users and serve them relevant ads. These cookies revealed where users were spending their time online, from the videos they watched to the online shops they frequented.

Not Dead and Pillsburied

The Sweet Solution

But there’s hope! Marketing gurus are confident that the following types of targeting will provide the user data necessary to continue tracking and targeting – and they’re as cookie-free as a diabetic’s pantry.

Contextual: Uses keyword targeting to serve users ads based on what they’re currently browsing (Example: Consumer is served an ad for a plant nursery while they’re researching growing seasons)

People-Based: Connects customers to their various devices, then uses first-party data (Example: User is matched to their smartphone, tablet, desktop, etc to link their data to one source, giving marketers a more complete picture of the consumer)

To Make a Long Story Shortbread


Marketers continue to view this setback as a call for innovative new tracking methods to arise. The first batch always takes some fine tuning, right? This new, non-cookie recipe for success gives users the privacy they yearn for and marketers the data they need.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

To chat about Motivated Marketing’s approach to remarketing and digital advertising, get in touch today! But if you wanna talk cookies, be sure to grab a glass of milk first. Then email or call 843.856.7322!