|Cookies offer a tremendous opportunity to harvest information about customer activity. But what are cookies, and how do they work?
|What are cookies?
|A cookie is a message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file called cookie.txt. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.
|What do they contain?
|This text may be as simple as to identify the user as "Jane" or in some cases, it will contain their actual information if they have provided it: their email address, phone number, your physical address.
| How are they used?
| Cookies are used to remember passwords, to make shopping carts remember" what you've bought, and to "switch them off" Cookies, when properly used, can significantly add to the user experience, making it more personal and enjoyable for the user, and often more profitable for the company.
|Cookies and privacy
|Cookies on your site
|One way to increasing return on online advertising is by revenue sharing. Revenue sharing is when one site drives traffic for another site by promoting it on theirs (and vice verse). The site being promoted gives the other a portion of their ad revenue. The only way to measure this is by cookie tracking.
You also need a way to measure how effective direct emailings are, measure how proposed site redesign affects user behavior, and count the number of first-time visitors.
|Track future viewing How many, and which pages are viewed How frequently are users who are getting direct email viewing this mail? What is the aggregate data for the number of users viewing pages?
|Cookies are also useful for tracking mailings. If you use an email service to deliver your site's frontdoor to consumers, who can then click on the links to get to your site. If the site driving traffic gets paid for every ad they serve for the other site, the number of of pageviews must be counted to determine if this is how people are "clicking through" to getting to the site.
The number of pages they view in a single session, as well as how long they save these inbox messages, and how often they access them will need to be calculated.
Frontdoor: The index or home page on a Web site.
|Measure how proposed site redesign affects user behavior
|For two versions of the home page or frontdoor, how much time is each group spending viewing pages?
|If you wanted to change your home page, but were undecided as to which of two options to choose, youcould provide both versions and a survey users about which they prefer. Or you could, using a random-sampling, provide one version to one group, and the second version to a second group, and measure, on average, which group spends more time and views more pages. This is the fairest test, and one that only works with cookies.
|Count the number of first-time visitors
|How many first time users per month?
|Cookies are the only way you can hope to count the number of first-time visitors to your site; this information is extremely valuable to advertisers.