What are cookies and what is their meaning?

Service Business

Surely, while surfing the web, you have come across a message that you must accept the mysterious "cookie policy" or "cookie policy" of a given website. What is that? Contrary to the name, it has nothing to do with confectionery. Cookies are tiny files that make our lives much easier, while creating a significant threat to privacy.

What are cookies - cookies?

Imagine you are accessing your favorite internet portal. Using it is very convenient, because you can adjust the order of the news displayed - information from the world of fashion does not interest you at all, so you move it to the very bottom of the page. For you, the most important are business reports, which - thanks to personalization - are shown to you immediately after entering the website. You live in Wrocław and that is why you have configured your home page to display articles from the local press. On this portal, you also have an e-mail account that remembers your username, so you do not have to enter it every time. The website does not forget that you are logged in, so you have full access to each of the subpages. You like answering questions in various types of surveys that sometimes appear on the website - you notice that your vote is always counted only once and you cannot express your opinion on one topic multiple times. Sometimes you browse the internet with your smartphone - the browser has remembered that you want to use a special, reduced version of the site, so you don't have to specify it every time. Sounds familiar?

The described case is a standard in the modern Internet. It could not exist without cookies. These are small files in which data is stored, exchanged between the browser and a specific website. The most basic information that can be included in a cookie is the fact that the user visits (or lacks) the website - the Internet user is recognized by the IP address. This mechanism allows you to eliminate the cases of multiple voting in one poll and allows you to keep a counter of unique visits to the website.

Cookies in e-commerce

Cookies are extremely useful for e-commerce entrepreneurs. They play a very important role in the case of online stores. They can remember the goods viewed by a given customer as well as the number, duration and time of visits to the website. They can also be configured to show the place from which the user entered the website - for example, from a search engine, a clicked banner or a link from another website. This information is extremely valuable for an entrepreneur analyzing people visiting his place - it allows for an accurate assessment of the advertising campaign and a better understanding of the habits and preferences of potential customers.

Cookies are the driving force behind Google AdWords contextual advertising (and other ad networks as well). They function on the basis of information about the pages visited by a given user. This way, a frequent visitor to fishing websites, for example, will see ads for modern fishing rods and waterproof boots on the search engine page (and elsewhere).

Interestingly, cookies made it possible to develop the concept of remarketing. It consists in trying to persuade customers to return to the store's website - both those who abandon their carts without making a transaction, and those who only browsed the offer without deciding to buy anything.Information about the would-be customer is saved in a cookie file and can be used for an AdWords campaign - the Internet user then displays advertisements containing products that he / she browsed. The data from cookies can also be used to create personalized remarketing mailing, reminding the consumer of an infinite transaction and proposing to buy products from the same category that he / she browsed.

Controversy around cookies

Cookies are criticized due to the fact that they are used to collect information about the Internet user. For this reason, each page - by order of the European Union authorities - must inform about the fact that they use cookies. The problem is that browsing cyberspace without cookies is very tedious. Until a better mechanism is invented, these little files are essential for surfing the web. If someone does not want to be "tracked" by cookies, they can disable their use in the browser.