What are internet cookies, why are they changing, and how do they affect marketing strategies in 2021?

Olivia Hawkins

09 Nov 2021 · 2 min read


If you or your brand participates in any form of online advertising, chances are you’ve been hearing a lot about cookies lately (and no, I’m not talking about the chocolate chip variety). As Google and Apple change their privacy settings, marketers are learning how to respond to the updated digital advertising landscape.

These changes have big implications for the future of online marketing and we’re here to help break down the basics and shed some light on how marketers can best respond.

What's a Cookie?

In real life, cookies are one of my favorite snacks. In the internet world, they’re not as tasty - digital cookies are a small packet of alphanumeric data that are left behind on a user's device as they navigate various pages of a website. Some cookies are functional; like eCommerce cookies remembering what products you've added to your cart as you continue to shop on a website. Other cookies are placed on websites by developers to give usage data to third parties - giving advertisers valuable (and anonymous) data to use in audience targeting.

Who uses Cookies?

There are just a handful of tech giants that have a monopoly on consumers' digital data - namely Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.

We all know that currently the internet is largely "free", but powered by advertising. The cost is data that consumers have willingly given platforms to be used by advertisers by accepting the terms and conditions to use these platforms. The upside for consumers historically has seemed great - free platforms (Gmail, Facebook/Instagram etc) with the "minor" cost of giving up personal data.

Several advertising platforms - especially Facebook and Google - have touted robust solutions using native data (aka platform usage data) and third-party cookie data to identify audiences on their platforms. Not only could you target advertisements to individuals who have shown interest in your brand or things that might be related to your brand, you could create lookalike audiences, which find people most similar to the audiences that are most important to an advertiser (i.e. a similar audience to current customers, or past purchasers).

What’s changing with Cookies?

What do these changes mean for marketers?

Marketing teams across agencies & brands, both big & small, are having to make adjustments to how they allocate their budgets between various platforms. In a recent New York Times article, one small business that has heavily relied on Facebook advertising revealed that since the iOS changes their revenue dropped 60%.

Loss of cookie data gives machine learning-based platforms like Facebook and Google less signals for optimization, meaning advertisers could be investing the same amount into media year over year and seeing a significant decrease in results, revenue etc. due to advertisements being shown to less relevant or qualified audiences than before the iOS changes.

What can be done to minimize fallout from these changes?

In two words: Influencer marketing.

Marketers are craving replacements to their "traditional" digital advertisements, and working with influencers is one of the best ways for brands to reach a specific audience without giving any additional media money to the monopolistic tech giants.

Tagger has a unique opportunity with the current data, privacy and cookie landscape. Not only is Tagger the most data-driven platform for influencer discovery, the data we have is completely public and available via API vs stored in cookies.

Want to learn more? Request a demo and we’ll show you how our all-in-one platform helps marketers with every step of the influencer marketing process.

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