What are internet cookies and why your website needs them

What are internet cookies and why your website needs them

Cookies on your website - explained

We have all experienced a pop-up or panel on websites asking for permission about their cookie policy. Even if you manage a website, you have to tell your visitors that you use cookies, and ask if they want to accept them. But what is a cookie, why do you need them, why are they so important for websites?

What are Internet Cookies?

HTTP cookies, internet cookies, or better-called cookiesare text files with small pieces of data. These files are stored on your computer or device when you visit a website.

As soon as you access a website their server creates this data, and the website will ask for permission to use their internet cookies. These are specific to you and are information about your browsing history, the websites you visit and use, and your interaction with advertising.

Google's definition is, cookies are files created by websites that you visit, and they make your online experience easier by saving browsing information. For example, e-commerce websites place cookies on the visitor’s network to retain the visitor’s information, credentials, and provide personalized user experiences.

Why do websites use cookies?

Internet cookies are a simple way of moving information from one session to another on a website, or from one session to another on similar websites without burdening a server machine with large amounts of data storage. And websites use this information for the following purposes:

  • recognizing your computer when you visit the website (user ID, passwords, autocomplete).
  • personalizing the website for you so you can have a unique user experience.
  • tracking you as you browse the website
  • to improve the user interface for a better user experience

44% of websites use cookies

According to the portal w3techs, just 44% of websites use cookies. Usually, these internet cookies are used to improve the UX, but also to make marketing campaigns and keep track of their users. In fact, most of these are non-secure cookies resulting in cookie theft and hijacking, while just 35% are secure cookies.


Different types of internet cookies

You can find a lot of types of internet cookies on the web but can be easily resumed in three types.

Session cookies

The session cookies identify users on a website. In other words, any changes you make are remembered from page to page, items added to cart, autocomplete, anything.

Websites use session cookies to ensure that as you switch from page to page within one site, you are known and that any information you have entered is recognised.

Persistent cookies

Persistent cookies are stored in the user's hard drive, and they remain there until expire or until the user deletes cookies.

Persistent cookies (aka permanent cookies) are used to collect information such as Web surfing behaviors, or user preferences for a specific website, and more. They help websites remember your information and settings for a faster and enhanced user experience for your next visit.

It’s more convenient because you don’t have to login again every time you leave a website.

Third-party cookies

Third-party cookies are usually used for advertising purposes, they are put on websites so they can track online users and target them with advertisements. However, they can be useful to consumers as they create ads relevant to their likes and interests.

Why are cookies important to your website?

Cookies are simple to use and easy to implement.  They can remember your visitors and make transactions faster and more convenient for them, which means more conversions for you.

Internet cookies are a small text file stored on computers and on websites. They can record information about the user’s activity and use it to enhance the functionality of your website, like shopping carts or the comment section.

The information stored in the cookies is valuable to the website’s analytics, it shows statistics on how the users interact with the page, and more. Cookies are able to pull useful marketing data businesses that can use to enhance and provide the best user experience.

All information that can be accessed by the server is collected by cookies. These are the data cookies gather:

  • Users settings (special preferences, language)
  • Data entered thru forms (login information, email address, contact number, usernames, etc)
  • Sites visited
  • Time you spent on a site
  • Links you click

Cookies provide you valuable information about the behavior of visitors through your website.

Internet cookies collect data to create a more personalised experience and turning your visitors into customers. Cookies pull useful marketing data your business can use to enhance and provide the best user experience or help your marketing campaigns.

The UK has a law to protect users' data by controlling the usage of internet cookies and tracking information. This Privacy and Electronic Communications law was set in 2012, and gives to people privacy rights in relation to electronic communications, and it's under the supervision of the Information Commissioner's Officer.

HTTPs Cookies can persist for days, weeks, or months.

Cookies can persist for a much longer period of time when set on a client's browser. That’s why it makes it easy for websites to save and visit the user’s information and preferences. Even if the server crashes, cookies will still be available because it is stored in the client’s hard drives.

Persistent cookies have features like persistent shopping carts, which retain the customers' product added to their cart between sessions. And as the user visits the website again, it adjusts the UX to reflect his or her browsing history.

Cookies improve customer experience by making the interaction between visitors and websites faster and easier. Internet cookies are one of the factors you should consider when designing your website platform because cookies can impact the UX.

Cookies save user preferences like usernames and passwords, or auto-fill information, and even virtual shopping carts. It's not a secret that most users prefer saving passwords in cookies instead of password managers, which makes cookies relevant because they provide a better UX for all users.

Usage of Internet Cookies in personalised retargeting campaigns.

Imagine your customer visits your site and add something to their cart but didn’t purchase yet, your site cookies will give you an insight about this. You can use this data for your retargeting campaigns, pushing relevant content to these customers until they buy or repurchase.

In other words, retargeting uses a code to anonymously follow the visitor all over the Web, then send personalized ads to recapture their interest. The purpose is to bring them back to your site to finish their transaction, and turning them into loyal customers.

Allowing or removing cookies

Cookies help your visitors to get the most out of your website. They can get fast, convenient and personalised transactions. Make sure you follow updated regulations and best practices with your cookies.

As a business owner, you have to remain on top of the game. Keep in mind that your visitors should have the option to accept or deny cookies.

Make the most of any technology that can help you improve your marketing. Do everything you can to provide new and current clients with a secure, pleasant online experience.

Let cookies do the job of collecting information to create a more pleasurable user experience.

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