Cookies Are Now Not Allowed

If you unaware, tracking cookies on user computers have been growing more and more obsolete due to active antivirus software.  In fact, some estimates reveal that up to 40% of all online traffic goes unreported due to cookie tracking deficiencies.  Despite these issues, most major ad channel providers (Google, Bing, etc…) are still reliant on cookies.

Not anymore.

The new GDPR regulations are going to force everybody to stop using cookies effective in May of this year.  The issue is that cookies assume an implicit user acceptance to be tracked and monitored.  Moving forward, users will have to explicitly agree to have these cookies on their computer.  Moreover, even if a user agrees to allow cookies, those cookies are personally identifiable information which has to be protected.

On a user’s computer.

Where advertisers have zero jurisdiction.

Moving Beyond The Cookie

Forget for a moment that no company is going to force user’s to accept any number of tracking cookies.  The reality is that the inability to protect cookies on a user’s computer will doom cookies.  Already people are attempting to move beyond cookies with concepts such as browser fingerprinting.

The challenge with these approaches is that nobody has yet to overcome the intrusiveness of these approaches. Tracking systems do not have any scripting options sufficient to hide behind the scenes, obtain the required data and not cause user interference.

What is required is a combination of new and deeper data collection and better big data analytics – possible using technologies such as graph databases – that operate off devices.  By only working off of a device and using data either collected between a user and target site(s), or by collecting data obtained after the fact from customers, can tracking companies enforce GDPR standards.

In these latter cases, all collected data would be protected from the point of collection and users, by transmitting data, would be explicitly agreeing to the data being sent.  The path forward clearly moves off of users’ devices but these solutions are complex and not yet established.

As such, and given the May deadline, what is going to happen to online marketing in the interim?