What Cookies Are Used For: Everything You Need To Know And How To Replace Them


When we ask ourselves what cookies are for, we are not referring to chocolate chip cookies. We are talking about the cookies that are included in web pages and that provide valuable data for marketing.

Our team of professional essay writers invites you to find out what cookies are used for on the Internet, their importance, and what a future without them looks like.

What are cookies, and what are they used for?

Cookies are packets of data that a browser automatically stores on a computer, whether we visit the website from a computer or from a cell phone.

They have been used since 1994 when programmer Lou Montulli created them as part of the innovations of the Netscape browser.

What are cookies used for general applications?

Cookies were created as files containing small data sets. Similarly, they have served mainly to identify users visiting a website.

Currently, the answer to the question of what cookies are used for includes:

  • Collecting browsing data.
  • Preferences and usage habits.
  • IP addresses from where we access a web page.
  • Identification of the operating system or browser.
  • Web page visited and previously viewed.
  • Access passwords to applications or services such as email.

Given their usefulness, different types of cookies have been created.

What cookies are used for according to their type

What cookies are used for according to their type

The types of cookies vary according to the source consulted, but we can classify them into three main groups:

1. By their permanence

The duration of the cookies determines it. Thus, some collect data only while the browser is open, while others store information for a longer time. In this way, we have:

– Temporary or session cookies

These are kept in the browser’s memory while you have the application open, so they are not installed in this or on your computer. They are used to store data for shopping carts and other short-term storage purposes.

– Permanent or persistent cookies

These are long-term cookies that are stored on the computer or device and for which an expiration date is programmed.

They allow retrieving data that are used for logging in without the need to re-supply login data.

2. According to their ownership

These cookies are associated with the developers of their code, the website where they are implemented, or who uses their data. There are two types:

– First-party or own cookies

They come from the same website you are visiting. The data collected are used for internal purposes of the page visited:

  • Logging in.
  • Saving configuration preferences.
  • Saving data that is shared between several pages of the same website.

– Third-party cookies

This type of cookie is not managed by the website being visited but by another application or company with which an agreement is established. This external entity uses cookies to track users according to their actions and obtain traffic data.

3. By their function

They depend on the purpose given to the cookie and, in some cases, can be configured in the browser when to enable or disable them. It includes:

– Technical cookies

They serve to optimize the operation of a website and cannot be disabled. What are technical cookies used for?

  • To connect a web server with the user receiving equipment.
  • To control the communication of internal data on a page or application.
  • To finalize an online purchase process.
  • To maintain security information.
  • Share data or content between social networks.

– Personalization

They are used to remember user preferences, among others:

  • Browser or search engine.
  • Interface style.
  • Web sites that open when a browser is started.

– For performance analysis

These are cookies that are programmed to:

  • Collect data that serve to predict the performance of a website or application.
  • Register errors.
  • Incorporate performance or usability improvements.

What are cookies used for in marketing, and why do they generate controversy?

What are cookies used for in marketing, and why do they generate controversy

In Lou Montulli’s own words, a cookie “is simply a core technology to enable the web to function”.

Cookies are particularly useful for marketing because the data obtained with them are used to:

  • Create specific profiles according to interests.
  • Manage advertising campaigns according to behaviors.

When we ask ourselves what cookies are used for in digital marketing, we come across remarketing or retargeting. First of all, it consists of a technique focused on showing advertising to users who have already interacted with the brand. This interaction is known because data was previously collected on websites, social networks, forums, etc.

However, the use of cookies has attracted attention because it is associated with practices where privacy and data security are considered threatened. Additionally, there are third-party cookies, zombie cookies, and super cookies over which the user has no configuration control.

These are risks that under the regulatory frameworks threaten the continued use of cookies.

1. The change is coming: web and marketing without cookies

Now that we know what cookies are for, we can see that they bring significant value in terms of the big data marketing they provide. However, the imminent disappearance of third-party cookies is already generating reactions:

  • Nearly two-thirds of media and their professionals (64%) are concerned about their elimination.
  • Only 40% of brands are preparing for the effects of their removal.
  • Almost half of the marketers (48%) fear that their business will not function well without them.

2. Corporate data handling and privacy measures

In analyzing the alternatives to cookies and their effectiveness for marketing measurement, Mark Read, CEO of WPP, points to these options:

  • Clients and brands can use insights they have about their own consumers.
  • Optimize the marketing process with data collected from purchases: where they buy and through which media.

3. Other measures that can be implemented are:

  • Use multiple media (media mix modeling) to optimize digital shopping.
  • Use big data marketing platforms such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, or Apple.
  • Build your own data platforms.
  • Collect first-party data with first-party cookies.

Cookies as technology are not going to disappear completely; however, they will require changes in the way information is obtained and collected.

What cookies are for will have new answers aimed at developing contextual advertising based on targeted segmentation without collecting sensitive user data and with greater privacy.

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