Consumers should not fear a diet of cookies
It is tempting to write off negative discussions about cookies as scaremongering, particularly as the main opponents of behavioural targeting are people outside the sector to which it relates. However, the digital marketing industry needs to remember that it must get this audience onside if it is not to be penalised in response to fears about “online stalking”.
Combatting the misconceptions involves communicating exactly what we are doing and showing the benefits that this offers - and then delivering on those promises. Of course, behavioural targeting is advantageous for publishers and advertisers. But it also enhances the online experience for consumers, who see adverts that relate to their specific interests.
Lessons can be learnt from the popularity enjoyed by offline store loyalty cards, which also rely on companies harvesting customers’ personal data to provide relevant offers. However, this is rarely perceived as an intrusion of privacy, precisely because it is offset by a tangible value to the consumer.
Cookies, whose many capabilities include being the driving force behind the personalisation of much-loved online retailers such as Amazon and
eBay, can help the online sector achieve the same. Therefore, contrary to various opinions, they should be a staple in our digital diet.