Businesses rely on online tracking for marketing efforts and revenue generation. In recent history, that has translated to cookies. Cookies are small text files that websites place on user devices to recognize and track their online behavior. Some cookies disappear when a browsing session ends while others are stored on the device.
Recently, the European Union and select US States have passed privacy laws complicating the practice of online tracking. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in force in the EU gives users many new rights and powers, including the right to objection and erasure from business tracking activities. Since the GDPR took effect in 2018, the EU has issued over 800 fines across their jurisdiction, including a $877 million fine to Amazon for failure to obtain “freely given” consent.
Users must now give consent to cookies every time they visit a website. It gets tedious. But if too many users don’t consent to tracking, businesses leave holes in their data that could warp important decisions. To comply with the law and make good marketing choices, businesses are going beyond cookies to collect their information. Methods include anonymous data collection, “named” user optimization, and regression-based attribution that operates without cookies.