Internet cookies – an insightful tool or an unnecessary annoyance?

Posted 7 February 2023 by Scott Finnie

Most people will be familiar with the feeling of having their web browsing activity rudely interrupted by pop ups and prompts.

So what are internet cookies and why do we need them?

Twenty years ago the internet functioned very differently to how it does now. Each user visit was a separate, unconnected event. The internet couldn’t ‘remember’ the interaction of users across pages.

And thus cookies were created: cookies provide allow websites to keep track of who visits them and what they’re looking at.

Of course the advertising industry saw the immense potential of using cookies to personalise ads, which is why it’s now possible to view something and find it following you around the internet for days on end. 

But the UK privacy landscape has changed a lot over the last few years and further changes are imminent. The GDPR introduced consent, Google is banning third party cookies and many users have become more privacy focused.

There has been much discussion around ‘the death of the cookie’ but what does a cookieless future look like? How can we get rid of that annoying pop-up for good and pivot toward more traditional, ethical human-centric marketing?

I chatted to Natalie Drucker, Digital Leader at Thoughtworks, and Gillian Nugent, Digital Marketing Lead at Hymans Robertson to discuss the internet cookie. We talked about whether they’re a useful tool or a mere annoyance.

Our discussion highlights the responsibility of website owners to gather the right kind of data, act in peoples’ best interests, and the importance of thinking carefully about user journeys.

Listen here to find out more.

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Scott Finnie

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Scott Finnie