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How can cookies rise to the challenge of your brand? .. Blake Cahill, Global Head of Social and Digital Marketing at Philips

Blake Cahill, Global Head of Social and Digital Marketing at Philips writes …

There’s a huge value in using cookies and, as we move to a more connected world with people living more of their lives online, brands are seeing cookies as increasingly essential to their business. Last year, more than 46 percent of the world’s population used the internet and, as we all know, every click, search and scroll eventually leaves a trace.

But how can brands use this information to their advantage while taking into account people’s privacy? How can they obtain cookie consent in a clear and understandable way?

For those new to the concept, a cookie is a small text file that’s stored on your computer, smartphone, or other connected device whenever you access a website. By using cookies, websites are able to recognise your device when you next visit and do things such as analyse the performance of the website, store your login details and passwords, and even feed you targeted advertising.

Cookies enable the brand to gather great insights into its customer and, in turn, provide the customer with ease of access to content, creating a seamless experience with the brand.

The main issue for brands to consider when implementing cookies is that there doesn’t always seem to be much understanding in how to implement them in a way that won’t create a negative impact. Time and time again, I’ve seen brands implement cookies only to find that, once in place, their websites witness a large bounce rate. For most brands, this causes a serious headache.

There’s no use enforcing the use of cookies if it means that no one uses your website anymore as a result. There are three main points you need to consider when creating and implementing a cookie consent that benefits both your company and your customer:

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

It might seem obvious to most, but testing how cookies are going to work is seriously important before putting anything else in place. You need to think about the different types of information and usage purposes you require, how it will fit into your existing website infrastructure and whether the way it is represented to your customers is the right fit for your brand. It’s not enough to just build one model and add it to your website. Testing and experimenting with different ways to acquire cookie consent will ultimately lead to very positive gains for your brand.

Maintaining traffic levels

Whether brands like it or not, implementing cookies to your website isn’t always popular with consumers. I’ve seen traffic on many brand sites nosedive due to adding cookies. The European Cookie Law might be causing a nuisance with your SEO analytics; customers could be finding your cookie banner annoying; or they could even be worried about their privacy.

You can understand their concern; we recently discovered that cookies were partially responsible for the Yahoo hacking fiasco. In fact, the real issue might be that people simply do not understand what cookies actually do or what giving their consent even means, and they therefore turn away from your website in fear and confusion.

Regardless of the issue, it’s important to effectively manage the traffic to your website and implement cookies in a way that will only enhance your brand’s business and not turn customers away. If your traffic is falling, go back to the drawing board until you have a solution that works. It’s as simple as that.

Geographical differences

One thing I have always found interesting is the differences between people in a variety of geographical locations. Whilst one thing might work in Europe, it may not have anywhere near the same impact in Asia or the Middle East. It’s all about what works for you in that market and the same goes for cookies. Do your research before looking in to a global implementation of a cookie consent method– a one-size-fits-all approach definitely doesn’t apply here, and nor does the law surrounding cookies for that matter.

What it all comes down to though is doing your due diligence and making sure that what you implement not only works, but ultimately benefits both your customers and business as a whole. By following these simple steps, you should find it easier to avoid the most common pitfalls when it comes to implementing cookies and then you can enjoy reaping the rewards.