When it comes to the workings of the web, understanding the role of cookies is important. A cookie is essentially a type of file that is stored on your computer and your browser when you visit certain web pages. The purpose of this file is to allow future identification, such that a website can tell if the same visitor has visited a page multiple times. This can be used to numerous marketing ends, so read the full definition to learn to make the most from them.
These cookies can contain pretty much any information and it's possible for you to store different cookies at different times. At the same time, you can also use scripts to look for more than just cookies - they can check the time, check the computer that's being used to display the site and more.
How Cookies Are Used in Marketing
Even if you are reading about cookies for the first time, chances are that you will have dealt with them on numerous occasions in the past, as cookies are used by the vast majority of websites and for many things that are crucial for internet marketers. For instance, when you log into any website, your computer will normally store cookies from the website so that you don’t need to log into next time. This has great benefit for marketers, as it allows them to quickly identify return visitors and log them in.
Likewise though, cookies are also used in order to identify marketers that recommend affiliate products. Here, links send visitors to stores via a redirect which first stores cookies on their machine. That way, the shop can see that they went via the specific URL and thereby identify them as being ‘your’ customers.
Likewise, cookies are what are used for remarketing. This is a feature of Google AdWords/AdSense that allows advertisers to show their ads to users that have already shown an interest in the products or services.
A Dynamic and Personal Site
But if you want to be creative, then you can also use an understanding of cookies for more inventive marketing opportunities. In particular, this might mean using them to interact with your customers in a manner that would be classed as responsive marketing.
What this means ultimately is that your site can change and adapt to the time and to the person using it. So, for instance, someone who is visiting the site for the very first time can be identified as such, as can a returning visitor. You could then have your website recommend further reading based on their reading patterns so far - something few sites do. Imagine loading a link on Google you've been to before and then seeing a message in the corner saying: 'Welcome back' and 'did you enjoy that last article on bicep training? Here's another one for you!'.
There are countless examples of things to do with cookies and scripts, but the point is that I can't just tell you them now. The idea is to find your own exciting uses for them and then to come up with something original and interesting that will wow visitors and help you to stand out as something a bit different…