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What are cookies and what are they used for?

Cookies are small data files that are stored in the user’s browser when they visit a website.

These files usually contain information that the website uses to track the user’s visit, such as the pages they have accessed, the options they have selected, the elements they have clicked on, etc.

In the context of marketing, cookies are essential for several reasons.

On the one hand, they allow websites to offer a personalized user experience.

For example, a cookie can remember the products a user has previously viewed on an e-commerce site, allowing the site to display related products on future visits.

In addition, cookies are also essential for tracking and analyzing user behavior.

They allow data to be collected on how visitors interact with a website, which pages they visit, how long they spend on each page, etc.

This information can be used to optimize the site and improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

It is important to note that the use of cookies is subject to privacy laws and regulations.

This means that websites generally need to obtain user consent before installing cookies and must provide options for users to manage or reject the use of cookies.

Types of cookies

In general, cookies can be classified in different ways:

  • According to their duration: session cookies are deleted when the user closes the browser, while persistent cookies remain in the user’s browser until they are deleted or until they reach their expiry date.
  • According to their origin: first-party cookies are created by the website the user is visiting, while third-party cookies are created by websites other than the one the user is visiting (by advertisers, for example).
  • According to the purpose: some cookies are necessary for a website to work properly (technical cookies), others are used to personalize content or advertising (personalization cookies) and others are used to collect data on user behaviour (analytical cookies).

Impact of the use of cookies on user privacy

In recent years, user privacy on the Internet has gained prominence.

Regulations such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe and the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) in the United States have established stricter rules on the use of cookies.

These laws require companies to inform users about the use of cookies and allow them to opt out of being tracked.

As a result, marketers must be transparent about their use of cookies and offer clear options to users.

This has led to the emergence of cookie consent management, a practice that involves requesting and documenting user consent to the use of cookies.

Cookies and digital advertising

Third-party cookies have been key to digital advertising, as they allow advertisers to track users across different websites.

In addition, cookies make it possible to display relevant ads based on user behavior, the sites they have visited and the content of the sites.

However, the main Internet browsers are gradually removing support for third-party cookies due to privacy concerns.

This is leading the advertising industry to explore new forms of targeted advertising that rely less on cookies.

For example, advances are being made in machine learning and artificial intelligence, or in solutions based on primary identifiers.