May 25, 2021
Web cookies are tiny doodads of code that drop into your browser that advertisers use to track what websites you visit, your favorite brand of toothpaste, and where you get your news.
Lou Monetelli, working at Netscape, invented them in 1994. Since then, they've enabled a market that will soon eclipse $500 billion in online advertising. On the ways, brands have amassed a massive amount of personal information, which advertising programs us to target individuals. The algorithms can predict your purchases and life events by monitoring what you buy. They further refine profiles by merging cookie data with third-party information. But consumers like to have a voice in what information is collected and by whom. That's why we'll continue to see big tech getting grilled by Congressional committees.
The GDPR ( The European Data Protection Regulation ) in the EU has led the privacy battle by mandating that advertisers need to provide ways for users to opt-out of cookies. Thus, the permission banners you see when you visit a website for the first time. Apple and Google have since implemented their versions of GDPR.
The Cookie Monster Dies
Google plans to eliminate cookies in the next two years. The impact will be enormous. Publishers could lose up to 54% of revenue, and brands dependent on personalized marketing and analytics will need to look elsewhere.
The scheme that Google is testing is called the Privacy Sandbox. Instead of hauling in and tracking private information, the PS will infer your profile from your browser based on settings, fonts, and IP addresses.
How will this affect brand budgets?
As we mentioned previously, healthcare publishers will take a big hit on the demise of cookies. And marketing executives will likely steer more budget toward content, organic search, and social media.
You have two years to wrap your brain around all these changes. In the interim, keep baking cookies!