We are going to dive into COOKIES and no, not the chocolate chip kind! We are talking about internet or web cookies. We know you’re wondering- what are all these cookie consent pop-up boxes for and why have they been under such scrutiny? We’re answering all the cookie cutter questions and more!Hosted By
We are going to dive into COOKIES and no, not the chocolate chip kind! We are talking about internet or web cookies. We know you're wondering- what are all these cookie consent pop-up boxes for and why have they been under such scrutiny? We're answering all the cookie cutter questions and more!
So let's start at the beginning. Like what is a cookie? And no, like I said, we're not talking about baked goods here. We're talking about internet or web cookies. This is the type of message that's given from a web browser to a web server. And it allows websites to store information on your machine. They were actually developed in 1994. Yes, like back in the dark ages, by Netscape to make shopping carts for e-commerce possible.
If you had a bottomless basket of cookies, for example, these will be persistent cookies. And those types stay valid until they reach an expiration date, like asking a site to remember your login information. But there's also session cookies. Now, these go away at the end of the session or visit on a website.
So why do they even exist? I mean, there's three big reasons for cookies. The first one as we started discussing already is creating a more convenient user experience because some cookies bring joy and
this way, they're a lot like their baked namesakes. They make websites better for users. They customize a web page to your preferences, they can adjust the layout or the regional information. They can enable e-commerce and allow you to keep items in your shopping cart even when you leave a site. Using cookies, you can save your login information on a specific computer so you don't have to re-enter it every single time that you visit.
Tracking user behavior using systems like Google Analytics allows the website owner to better understand how people use their website. And using this information they can learn how to improve the website for users to engage the success of their marketing endeavors.
Usually, these are all session cookies so they're not
going on forever. They're only active while you're on the site.
Those third party cookies that are generally also persistent, they stick around for a while, and they allow marketers to serve ads on other websites based on your interests. So for example, you could show an ad to people on Facebook because they visited your website. This style of targeting is different based on the ad platform. It's usually called remarketing or retargeting. And it can be a pretty effective way to drive traffic back to your site because you're talking to people who already found you on their own. I mean, it can be annoying, because advertisers can set it up to be extremely persistent and even a little aggressive feeling, but they can also back off and just show it every so often to people as well.
just a little bit.
Now, one thing I have people keep asking me is our cookies safe? And yes, I mean, cookies are pretty safe. They don't run code, they don't deliver viruses. The nature of a cookie isn't to access your personal information. They're limited to one website and one machine. So they're not available for consumption by others. For example, if you add things to your shopping cart on Old Navy, they don't just show up in your Amazon cart because they're separate. And if you log in to Facebook, on your laptop, you're not automatically logged in on your computer at work, right? Or on your mobile device. Again, like just to reiterate, cookies, don't share your personal information with the website. You make that decision. So Facebook knows who you are because you told it when you signed up. And the same goes for like Amazon and the other sites that you use all the time. That information is not stored in a cookie. It's stored in a database attached to the website.
European Union has the General Data Protection Regulation GDPR and E privacy regulation. And then California has their California Consumer Privacy Act, so which is ccpa. And all three of those classify web cookies as unique identifiers considered to be personal information. So while a cookie does not share your actual personal information doesn't share your name doesn't share your address. It does track how you use a website. And that helps marketers and business owners place users and groups and identify common behavior patterns.
While most cookies are only site specific, major ad platforms like double click, Google Search Network, and Facebook audience network have cookies on lots of websites. And because those websites are served, all of their ads are served all over the web on those websites. They can track user behaviors across lots of
sites. And as they combine those user patterns, they can develop very user rich profiles about visitors. So they're getting further and further away from this group of people act like this. And closer and closer to Monica Pitts acts like this. I mean, think about it. I told Facebook, my name, and Facebook then can place ads on other places. And then when I see those ads, Facebook could know that that's me. I don't know if they can, but they could. Right. So people are pretty creeped out about this. And, I mean, it feels kind of creepy to me, and I do it. So I believe this could be like the push like the big thing that is like pulling on these privacy initiatives.
marketers have been doing this forever, right? in one form or another. When you place an ad in a magazine or a newspaper, they're giving you access to their users. They are like selling you their user base, just like these ad platforms are doing to people. And when you buy a mailing list or an email list, I mean, like, where do you think they get that, right?
Now, oh my gosh, if you donate to a nonprofit that uses a call center, like good luck getting off that list, I donated $20 over a year ago and they call me like four times a day now. Like, what? I need to know like, is this a scam? Because if it is, I really need someone to tell me how to make it stop because I've just taken to never answering phone calls that I don't know the numbers for because they are always nonprofit telemarketers asking me for donations. It is wearing me out.
So some of these traditional
examples they feel okay. Right? I mean, like placing that ad in that magazine or that newspaper that feels okay. Just like some cookies feel okay. And then others feel disruptive and downright stalkerish. And that's the gray area that we're working in here. Like, do we know the terms of service for all the directory websites that our businesses are listed in? Do we even know what directory websites our businesses are listed in? I mean, there is a lot of them out there. And do we understand what those terms of service really say? Like down in the fine print of what they can do with our information just because they found it and listed it on their websites? We don't. I mean, at least I don't. And I managed hundreds of websites. So I could only imagine, like, how, like scary that could feel to somebody who just manages one website, like how do they expect people to know how will they be holding people accountable for this? Google did
You would also not allow website owners to track your browsing data on their sites and that links breaks my heart because dang it do I love browsing data I mean, to make a pitch for allowing people to do this, it makes such a big difference to be able to understand how people use a website so that you can make good decisions about your marketing. These businesses are investing money and things that they don't even know if they're working or not, because it's really difficult to track and now you tie it to a website and it makes it so much easier. But if I have a website that doesn't have very much traffic, then I mean, that pretty much like wipes out my browsing data, if a third of the people don't actually allow me to track it or maybe half or three quarters. So it kind of hurts my heart a little bit. Things are changing, right. You also, I mean, I have to put this out there when you block cookies, you're limiting the ad revenue that some of these websites do depend on to run their businesses because they get paid with when you click on those ads on their website, and they get paid sometimes just by showing the ads on their websites, but if they don't have the cookies, and they won't be able to do it nearly as efficiently as they do now, and you also close the door for businesses to be able to advertise to you through third-party cookies, like if you wanted to reach out to your customers again, then you would not be able to do that they somebody disabled their third party cookies.
And then there's other robust options that I've seen that are pretty amazing that I'm like, wow, this is a great, really robust, like user interface where, you know, the pop up comes up or the notification comes up and it's like, hey, necessary cookies. You could have preferences cookies, statistics cookies and marketing cookies, which one do you want to use and, and letting people check those boxes. And then, you know, clicking allow. I mean, the implementation is up to you, you can tell that I'm torn about how ethical it is, as far as how these notifications should be formatted. But I knew unfortunately, this decision isn't up to me, it's up to you. So I'm just here to give you ideas with which you can, you know, make an educated decision about what's right for you.
So, there are definitely services that you can pay to do some of this stuff for you. Now, if you choose an all in one solution, like a service, right, you'll still need to implement it. You can't just sign up and have it magically appear on your website because your site and that service have to talk to one another and someone has to make that happen. Those services are all things that you are to pay for they're billed monthly or annually and if you just have one site they're actually pretty affordable. If you have like hundreds of websites that don't seem so affordable anymore. That's kind of where I'm at. So I haven't used any of them. There are a couple that I found cookie bot cookie matrix and I Belinda, that seem they showed up over and over again. But I'm a DIY lady, right, unless I can't find another way. And so I also want to talk about the fact that you can do it yourself. WordPress has a number of plugins that you can use to serve these notices and also want cookies and keep till people opt-in. Like I said, there's all kinds of different ways that you can format the opt-in, you can do it when people scroll to a certain spot or when they go to more than one page or if they click accept or you know, and like and I do think that you need to think through these on your own and think, you know, does this actually, is this giving people a choice, because that's what you're trying to do. The one that we use is cookie notice for GDPR and CCPA by dfactory. I mean it has over a million installs and a five-star rating from over 2000 reviews. And it's a pretty robust plugin. There's others also that you can use and I'll link to those in the show notes. Now if you do a DIY method, do know that I mean you're going to have to be diligent and testing it because you can't just install it and then expect that it's working and that you're somewhat compliant right? You actually have to do it. So there you cookie metrics. Obviously, we talked about that one earlier, they'll run a report for you. And easy I GDPR is another one that I ran a report on that was pretty cool. So and those are free reports. They're free scans. That doesn't necessarily make them the end all be all like if you are in Europe, and you will really do have to comply, you know, this is or you know, maybe you just feel like ethically like pulled to do this thing. So people can have a choice, then you will need to make sure that you are compliant. And that may mean paying for a scan or for someone to, you know, give you the bill of approval.
All right. Yes. So that is it. That is like all I have about cookies, you got it. So, just to recap, cookies are secure ways for browsers and servers to talk back and forth. They're used to adjust your user experience, track user behaviors and target ads. And like any other baked treat a little bit of cookies super tasty, but too many cookies can make your tummy really hurt. But you don't have to be scared of the cookie notices anymore. I mean, the choices really in your hand quite literally with the click of a mouse you can choose to accept cookies, and go about your business as you always had. Or you can choose to decline them. You can change your browser settings and as a business, you can add the cookie notification and a number of different ways or you can just, you know, choose to go on and wait until somebody tells you Yeah, absolutely, have to do it. Alright, so that's all I have for you today. Thank you so much for your time. I know it's very valuable. So get back to all the things you have to do and grab a plate of chocolate chippers to celebrate.
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