Most internet users have heard of cookies, but few understand what they are. In the age of online tracking, cookies are small text files websites place on user devices to recognize and track their online behavior. Some cookies are session-specific while others stay on a user’s device beyond the browsing session.
Recent laws passed by the European Union and select US states have induced hurdles to online tracking. These privacy laws require users to provide explicit, informed consent to many data processing activities. If too many users refuse consent, businesses struggle to close gaps in their data. Since privacy laws have taken effect, businesses have been forced to pay heavy fines if they are caught in non-compliance. Instead, businesses are looking into ways to collect data without cookies. Optimizing proportions of “named” users can help, as can regression-based attribution which doesn’t rely on cookies. Also used are anonymous tracking methods.