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Internet cookies are like the crumbs Hansel and Gretel left in the forest.
Technical terms are sometimes a minefield, especially where the internet is concerned. Let’s start with some definitions. 
Cookies. Like Hansel and Gretel in the forest, cookies provide a breadcrumb trail of where you have been on the internet. 
 
Third-party cookies. When you visit a website small pieces of data (the breadcrumbs) are placed on your computer, mobile, or tablet. These are used by many different companies to track sites you’ve visited and send you related advertisements. 
 
Tracking protection. You can already hide where you’ve been on the internet by rejecting cookies to protect information about your internet use. The leading browsers are now planning to block third-party cookies by default. 
 

Why are browsers cutting third party cookies? 

People are concerned about the safety of personal information on the internet. One of the major goals of data privacy regulations is to increase our control and rights concerning personal data. In the US, eight out of 10 people believe they have little to no control over the information the government or private companies has about them. 
 
For over a decade Firefox has said it will block third-party cookies by default and Safari has already introduced full third-party cookie blocking. Google has promised to do the same, but is slow to implement the changes. The latest date is now the end of 2025. However, the change is coming. When these three browser giants finally complete the job default third-party cookie blocking will affect around 85% of online searches
 

What cookie blocking means for you 

If you use online marketing you’ll need to find new ways to target your audience and keep track of their preferences. You’ll want some alternatives to understand buyer behaviour and to deliver personalised content. This might seem like bad news, but it doesn’t have to be. 
 
Cookie consent. You can still ask people to allow cookies but it’s important to make it easy to reject them all. Checking long lists of people who can access someone’s browsing history is time-consuming and visitors likely to move on. Blocking content if people reject cookies sends a very negative message and isn’t a good idea. 
 
Contextual advertising. This is one of the softer ways of communicating with your customers. It might not be as specific as before because you won’t see exactly what people are doing online. However, you can learn more generally from the content people view, and when and how they access it. 
 
Direct data requests. It’s always a good idea to create more personal relationships with your customers. With the public craving to have more control over their data asking permission to send information gives back control. For example, you can offer email sign-ups, notifications about special promotions or prizes for responding to surveys. The number of people you can contact will go down, but the ones who accept are more likely to respond. 
 
Email and newsletter marketing. This is a good way to build your business reputation with people who have given their consent. The key to success is consistency, so your monthly newsletters must arrive on time and offers and advice must be relevant. 
 
Targeting. Artificial intelligence or AI isn’t just for large businesses. There are easy to use tools that help you understand your wider audience based on large samples of data. 
 

So where do you go from here? 

Times are changing but there are new options on the horizon. You can build stronger relationships and communicate more effectively. You might lose a trusted marketing tool but you can still create and share high quality content
 
Get in touch to start planning your strategy for cookie-less marketing communications. 
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