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In a mobile first world the cookie has been relegated to play second fiddle to people-based marketing. So what is people-based marketing and why must marketers need to come to grips with things like first party data and the role of persistent IDs?

How the cookie was baked

The http cookie (or website cookie as most of us know them), was invented in 1994 by Netscape founding engineer Lou Montulli. During those relatively early days of the internet, cookies were frequently accepted by default without the users knowledge.

As the internet became more and more commercial, advertising organisations such as double click, recognised the potential value in adopting cookies.

How the cookie was consumed 

Here is what Wikipedia says about the practical use of cookies.

An HTTP cookie (usually just called a cookie) is a simple computer file made of text. The information stored in cookies can be used to personalise the experience when using a website. A website can use cookies to find out if someone has visited a website before and record information (data) about what they did.

How the cookie has gotten stale

Cookies were designed to be stored on an individual's web browser. A typical example would be someone searched for a certain type of sports shoe on an eCommerce site, but abandons her visit. Let's say she returns to the site a few days later and she is presented with content related to the sports shoe she looked at earlier.

This worked well when we were all still using a single desktop computer to access the internet. But times have changed. Today, in Australia, we are on track to owning an astonishing 30 connected devices per household. Besides today's mobile phones, tablets and Smart Watches increasingly we will have connected devices in the form of:

  • Air conditioners
  • Solar Panels
  • Security Cameras
  • Fridges
  • Thermostats

to name a few.

Today's mobile users spend most of their time "in app". The fundamental weakness of the humble cookie is that they don't function within mobile apps. This means it is impossible to map individual user data across devices.

A fresher alternative to cookies

felix-dubois-robert-93143-unsplash (1)So what's a marketer to do? Enter "people based marketing". Spotify's CEO Danielle Lee, calls is the gold standard in marketing, but what does it mean?

Effectively, in people based marketing the attention is shifted away from devices and the focus is on the individual. This allows marketers to reach the same verified individual regardless of the device they use.

The role of persistent IDs in people based marketing

The persistent ID is simply an identifier that gives marketers a single view of a web user across different and multiple devices, for example desktop, mobile web, and in-app, without duplication.

The data is gathered from log-ins. For example a person is logged in and stays logged in on their social media account can then be recognised wherever they are on the web or mobile. Which provides marketers with much improved and accurate data.

So in a nutshell, cookies are nearing their use by date

Our world is increasingly mobile first and cookies simple do not provide marketers with complete data. Nowadays we are much more interested in data that gives us insight into actual user behaviour.

People-based marketing, gives us the opportunity to reach our known customer, drive improved ROI on our marketing and deliver a much better and relevant customer experience.

Wendy Coombes

Written by Wendy Coombes

I help small business and independent professionals get started with digital marketing and marketing automation, so they can attract and close more of their ideal customers.