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Crash Course: Cookies and how they help in marketing

You have clicked away the notifications countless times – the banner, which usually appears at the bottom of a web page and tells you that cookies are used on that platform. Often you don’t even read the message anymore, you just click it away.

There are many types of cookies, but the most interesting and controversial ones are third party cookies. Third party cookies collect a lot of useful information from users for advertisers, including:

  • Dwell time
  • Number of page visits
  • Movement of the user via links

The totality of this information provides a good picture of the user’s interests, as it is possible to track not only what the user is interested in within a domain, but across several domains. Third party cookies thus allow the creation of extensive user profiles so that advertisers can deliver exactly the right advertisements.

To give a rough idea of how much websites rely on third party cookie data, Digiday selected some of the biggest U.K. publishers and checked how many third-party cookies they use on their website:

But what are cookies anyway and how do they help in digital marketing? 

What are cookies? What are they used for?

Cookies are basically small text files that are stored on your device as soon as you visit a website. They record information about your visit to the site – they ensure that your shopping basket is saved on Amazon, even if you have closed the tab in the meantime. Or that you stay logged in to Facebook and don’t have to re-enter your data every time you visit.

Therefore Cookies are like little info notepads for websites and are stored as files locally on the computer. These notepads remain stored for different lengths of time – they have an expiry date. Some cookies are deleted after a few hours, days or weeks. But there are also cookies that have no expiry date at all and are stored until the user deletes them.

How do Cookies help in Digital Marketing?

Cookies provide the necessary context in order to determine which content is particularly appealing to your target group. They are therefore particularly valuable for marketers. Even if visitors do not interact directly with your site (by filling out a form), cookies still provide data that is useful for collecting performance metrics. If a visitor fills out a form and does not delete the cookies that were collected before registration, the individual visitor history of search behaviour before and after registration is fully available. These cookies therefore help you learn more about the interests of your target groups. This in turn enables you to better tailor your initiatives to the needs of your customers. Especially when it comes to targeting your prospects and visitors on third party websites, tracking through cookies is highly relevant. It enables you to show the most engaged and warm audience the highest frequency of ads of specific retargeting ads, often used in programmatic advertising on the third party sites directly.

So how does Programmatic Advertising actually work?

How do I use Cookies legally?

Cookies are indispensable for web analysis and marketing efforts. They collect information that allows you to get to know your users better and help you to draw conclusions about user behaviour. This valuable data opens up many different possibilities for you. For example, you can make the right optimizations to your website, adapt the structure of your website and your products to user needs, increase user loyalty, expand your target group and deliver personalized content. With these measures, you can increase your conversions.

However, caution is advised when using tracking cookies. In order to protect your users’ personal data in accordance with the DSGVO, you require your users’ consent to the use of tracking methods. Therefore, if you set this type of cookie to collect, process and store corresponding analytics data, you need the consent of your users.

There must be an opt-out function on your website so that users have the opportunity to decide whether they allow tracking tools. However, it is advisable to use a Consent Manager, as you will then receive the active consent of your users for tracking and you can be sure that you act completely in accordance with data protection laws.

Cookie Take-away

Cookies do not always taste good – the recipe must be right!

In summary, cookies are useful and important. They facilitate and simplify browsing through the web. But you should not blindly accept all cookies. You have to know which cookies are useful and which ones reveal too much data. As a user, you should also take care of your own privacy. Be aware of which data you want to disclose about yourself in order to have a better user experience. On the part of the website operators and marketers, data protection should be observed. You should use Cookies cleanly and offer a corresponding transparency. Data protection does not exclude web analysis and personalisation. You just have to link the topics together in a smart and transparent way.

If you want to know more about website optimization and conversion, contact us here

Meet Pascal, our BD & Client Manager

Hello Pascal, how are you today?

“Hey there! Apart from me being locked in my own house and working from my home office due to the current CoVid-19 situation, I feel terrific! 

But I have to say for me and for us at BMM as a team it worked out really well to work from home and stay connected, as we were working in an international team in three different timezones before already – so nothing new to us.” 

Splendid! I am also well, thank you. I am about to ask you some questions to make you a little more familiar to our readers, sound good?

“Sure, give me your best shot, throw it right at me.” 

Ok then! Let’s begin with you just telling us a bit more about your professional life that has now drawn you to work in marketing?

“Oh boy, I knew this was coming. Alright then: I´ve studied economics and sociology in Germany and PPE (politics, philosophy and economics) in Italy. Throughout my studies, I was interning and working part-time as a working student in companies relevant to my interests and my courses. Working for digital marketing companies as well as digital consulting companies, I learned a lot on the industry and how different sectors tackle problems with different solutions. But let´s take a step back here because my interest in advertising started way earlier: 

Actually, I was interested in the advertising industry since I was a little kid.

I used to watch television a lot when I was younger. I was in love with the good old animated cartoons, from Ducktales to Chip & Chap. Of course, they had a lot of commercial breaks as well, showing their young audience the magical world of toys and teenage gadgets, which they would then later continuously ask their parents about. 

Understandably, I wasn´t realising at the time the many steps that have to happen till such a commercial could be rolled out. From building up a media strategy around a specific brand or product to sketching ideas on how to advertise and which channels to choose (for you, dear GenZ reader: in the 90´s digital advertising was just in a very early development stage, which means brands with children as their main target group could essentially choose between TV & Radio commercials, print in comics and on billboards or POS advertisers) all the way to trying to post-analyze and measure the success of the campaign – in of course far less accurate ways than now are digitally possible. 

This brings me to my conclusion: Since my studies of economics and social sciences as well as working in strategic consulting were very analytical and data-driven, I was able to find a profession in future-oriented digital marketing, which combines my creative and psychological interest with a data-driven, empirical approach. Due to the variety of possible topics (every company advertises in a way for itself) and the different task requirements, I am always facing new challenges. This fulfils me and lets me learn more every day in an incredibly dynamic and flexible working environment.” 

Interesting! What would you consider the highs and lows of your job now with your responsibilities in business development and client consulting?

“It´s always very fulfilling to me when we find a neat setup to rearrange and optimize processes we are working with as a company or for one of our clients. 

Especially when it comes to talking to new prospects and presenting our views and findings, when we identified something that really simplifies a part of the tasks that someone is struggling with, making it more efficient whilst saving costs, that´s what keeps me going. While we´re speaking there were probably 10 new inventions in the areas of software, ad-tech and data science, and for me the top priority is to stay up to date and scan the market for smart solutions that we can then leverage for us and our clients to stay ahead of the competition. And to understand how to implement something in the specific area the client is working in, I have to learn a lot about the industries they hail from. This is amazing to me because you’re always expanding your knowledge in many directions. 

Relating from that, can you give me an example of your ideal passion project?

“Sure. I am always interested in projects and companies that combine a mission or product that aims for the adjustment towards equality of environmental and social opportunities with a business-driven approach. To me, this is the only way to have a strong intrinsic intend in fulfilling societal tasks and achieve something that brings us forward as mankind in tune with nature. 

“Whats the use of a fine house if you haven´t got a tolerable planet to put it on?

Henry David Thoreau

As an example, I worked with a company that rents bikes in big cities to a very affordable price on a monthly basis. They have a full repair covering, and when locked up, your bike is insured as well. They managed to gain a lot of new customers with a very smart campaign, lowering the number of people using motor vehicles – which is covering exactly the “sweet spot” I was talking about. I love that kind of projects because they have an ecological impact while increasing economic welfare.”

Pascal, as you are working so closely in communicating with clients, would you say you are equally sociable personally?

“Well, I´d say invite me to a pint and find out! That’s to say: I looove to meet new people, hear their stories and derive something to learn from their experiences. Because you can always learn something from the experience someone shares with you, even if you think you´ve been there before or you´ve done the same thing twice already – it´s always just your own perception of it. 

Having an open mind and being empathic and aware of my surroundings and the people I meet is opening a lot of doors to me, which is especially important when you are trying to solve a problem that a prospective client is experiencing. You want to be able to make someone else’s problem your own as this is the only way you can truly handle the complexity of the demands which often exists and to think along on every step. It also lets you realise when its time to dissent in the right places – for the benefit of the overall goal.

Sounds great! And just to finish this off, please could you give me three words with which you think your friends would describe you?

“I´d go with spontaneous, life-affirming and empathic – but that´s just an impulsive thought. Ah, see? Strong evidence for number one!”

Sounds top-notch! Thanks, have a great day.

“Kudos to you, this was a lovely short interview! Thank you too!”

Get in touch with Pascal.

If you want to get in contact with Pascal and discuss anything related to online marketing, or if you have a specific need identified in your company and you want to speak about ways to achieve it feel free to reach out. He loves to connect to the industry, network and hear other peoples thoughts and exchange opinions. 

Check out his calendar here and find a time to get in contact.

Programmatic Advertising in a nutshell

Programmatic Advertising – an abstract term, which is causing rather diffuse associations such as “data”, “efficiency” or “robots” instead of clear ideas, even among marketers.  Yet it is not that complicated. After this briefing you will understand which actors are involved and how Real Time Bidding, the most common Programmatic advertising method, works. 

The term Programmatic Advertising originates from online marketing and stands for the automated purchase, sale, optimisation and display of online advertising media in real time. It is based on various user data and intelligent algorithms that control the entire process. If you would like to know more about the historical background of Programmatic, read here.

How does Programmatic Advertising work?

Every time users see customized advertising content on a website, numerous processes run in the background. That’s because the advertising content depends not only on the theme of the website, but also on your individual user data.

This data is based, for example, on the respective online surfing behaviour or demographic parameters. What kind of advertising message users see therefore depends on their age, gender, location or online purchasing behaviour and also takes into account, for example, whether they have visited the website in question before.

The actual process of selling advertising space is then often carried out via Real Time Bidding (RTB). This procedure uses an automatically controlled auction process that controls the purchase and sale of the advertising media.

Why Marketers Should Care About Real-time Bidding

If an Internet user opens a website, the user data is sent to a so-called Ad Exchange. This online marketplace is where advertisers meet with their demand and publishers with their supply of advertising space. Put simply, this technology platform then evaluates the existing bids for an ad space on the website.

This is because advertisers determine a bid and details of the target group in advance. The ad space is allocated to the highest bidder in the course of real time bidding and is directly filled with advertising. This auction process takes only a few milliseconds and takes place during the loading time of a website.

In addition to real time bidding, you can also use other transaction models such as Automated Guaranteed. With this method, fixed advertising spaces can be booked at a predefined fixed price. As an advertiser, you determine certain parameters for this purpose, at which your advertising is played out.

What kind of platforms do we need in the process?

In order for the automated and data-driven purchase and sale of advertising inventory to work at all, several platforms interlock. The Supply Side Platform (SSP), Demand Side Platform (DSP) and Data Management Platform (DMP) therefore form the technological basis for the entire process.

programmatic-advertising-platforms-description
Data Management Platform

With the help of the data management platform, user data can be collected, managed and used. The data can be, for example, obtained from CRM databases or cookies. This data then helps you to place the right ads on the right advertising spaces.

Demand Side Platform

The Demand Side Platform is the counterpart of the SSP. This platform helps advertisers to find suitable advertising spaces based on individual goals, budget and user data. The DSP therefore ensures that the advertiser receives the best possible ad space.

Supply Side Platform

The Supply Side platform forms the technological infrastructure for the supply of advertising space. On this platform publishers can list their advertising inventory for a self-determined minimum price and release it for trade. The automated process allows the advertising spaces to be sold as profitably as possible.

Take-Away

Programmatic Advertising has many advantages: it is an automatic procedure, the target group is addressed directly and the ad spend is therefore spent more efficiently. Also, you get more flexibility in planning your campaigns as  you can modify and optimise your campaign objectives in real time. Since national and international networks or channels can display Programmatic advertising, companies can target their potential customers internationally.

Programmatic Advertising not only makes the placement of ads more precise, but also significantly easier. Thanks to sophisticated technology, you can reach a very concrete target group with the least possible effort, which significantly increases the probability of clicks and conversions. This way you invest your advertising budget as flexibly and efficiently as possible. 

Although programmatic spend is on the up and up, for many marketers, lack of understanding of the way programmatic advertising works is a huge hindrance. Contact us now to help you with your next Programmatic campaign!