They are delicious, come in different flavors, can be crunchy or doughy, and go well with nearly any occasion. They also help with targeting, allow advertisers to display relevant ads, and provide insight into user browsing histories on the web. Fortunately, or unfortunately, this post talks about the latter of the two.
So what are cookies besides those things we say we won't eat then eat when no one is looking? Cookies are targeting tags sent from an online ad to the user's web browser, allowing advertisers to gain information on user activity. What cookies do is not only provide information to advertisers about internet users and what they do online, but also track the user's online activity after the cookie has been placed. Cookies are a great tool for advertisers because they allow us to re-target consumers who have already expressed an interest in the product we are selling, while also allowing us to compile information on the user as long as the cookie is active. Unfortunately, more recently it's become a fad to DELETE your cookies as to protect your privacy from creepy advertisers who want to learn more about you. In some ways it is a little creepy, but in our defense'?¦
I have always been a huge fan of JetBlue Airlines. I'm a True Blue member, I enjoy my personal TV, I enjoy not trying to sit in a seat half my size (no offense United Airlines), and I enjoy being able to pick my own seat ahead of time so I can sit with my friends and not have to battle with strangers (no offense SouthWest Airlines).
Why do you care? You don't care, but you should.
See, JetBlue has been creepin on (aka re-targeting) me for months now. They find me on nearly every site I visit, across the span of the entire internet. They target me because I go to their site sometimes to check out cheap flights for when I go to visit friends in other cities. If it took clicks on an ad to get upgraded to first class (even though on JetBlue everyone is first class), I would be flying the plane by now, because I click on the ads almost every time I'm targeted. Why? Because they are constantly updating me with new deals, newly discounted flights and special offers.
Why do I get to see these awesome offers without having to go to the site? Because I don't delete my cookies. Believe it or not, because I am going to be served the ad anyway, I actually PREFER to be re-targeted so at least I'm seeing ads for JetBlue and Nike instead of Gucci and Cadillac. I figure as long as I'm going to be forced to see ads, they might as well be something that I am or might potentially (that will be taught in Re-Targeting 102) be interested in.
So don't delete your cookies. All it's going to do is guarantee that you will never see an ad that might be at least slightly interesting to you. HELP ME, HELP YOU!