How cookies work and how to prevent them from tracking you
Jennifer Nwokolo

Cookies are tracking you.

So, you've been browsing the internet, and a notification tells you that the website uses cookies. Most of the time, you click the agree button and go on your merry way. How do these cookies affect you?

Ever thought of how the websites you visit know what you've been searching for and the products you like? We've heard how giant tech companies use cookies to monitor our activities on the internet.
In this article, we'll take you on a journey of cookies and their function. We will also share how you will prevent them from tracking you.

What are cookies

Cookies are data files reserved on your computer or mobile device when you visit a specific website. They are not viruses or malicious software but simple text files that make the website experience better for you. Understanding how cookies work will help you understand their use and how to manage them.

In simpler terms, cookies gather information about you and your preferences. The information storage is to help personalize your experience as you visit a website. For example, a website may use cookies to remember your username, password, language preference, or other preferences you had set when you visited the website.

Hence, cookies play several roles, and understanding how they work is essential if you want to manage them. You either set your browser to accept or reject cookies or delete them from your device. However, some websites will not function if you disable some cookies. Hence, it is crucial to understand the purpose of the cookies and how to manage them to maximize your experience on the website.

How do cookies work

Cookies technology adopts a unique identifier that allows the server to remember who you are and your actions on a webpage–it enables websites to store your information.

This data is sent back to the server each time the user visits the website, allowing it to recognize them and customize their experience accordingly. By tracking this data, websites learn more about their users and deliver better services.

What are third-party cookies: how to stop them

It's crucial to understand how third-party cookies work and how they track your activity online so that you can take steps to prevent third-party tracking.

Many people are concerned about the privacy implications of third-party cookies, as they collect a significant amount of data about their online activities. For example, third-party cookies track which websites you've visited, what you've clicked on, and even the content you've viewed. This data can then be used to serve ads tailored to you, which is why many people are looking for ways to stop third-party cookies.

Third-party cookies are monitoring scripts created by organizations and installed on a website visitor's device. Advertisers often use them and social media platforms to track users across websites to develop a detailed user profile for targeted advertising. They track your online activities and create a profile of your browsing habits.

Fortunately, there are several different ways to block cookies with browser settings and third-party tools.

  • To block cookies with browser settings, the first thing you want to do is to access your browser's settings. For example, if you're using Google Chrome, you can access the settings by clicking the three dots in the top right-hand corner and clicking "Settings." Then, go to the Privacy tab and select "Content settings." Here, you can block all cookies or only block third-party cookies.
  • If you're using Firefox, click the "Options" tab and select "Privacy & Security." Under the "History" section, select "Use custom settings for history" and then check the "Accept cookies from sites" box. Then, you can choose to block all cookies or only block third-party cookies.
  • Third-party cookies are going away

    Have you ever imagined a future without cookies? While this is a nightmare to marketers, many website visitors are excited about this reality.

    At the end of 2024, website settings will change significantly as third-party cookies will not exist. Since third-party cookies are going away, marketers and business owners need to equip themselves and build strategies to provide website visitors with a smooth and tailored experience.

    Types of tracking & targeting technology used by websites

    Many website tracking technologies are available to website owners. They adopt these to gain valuable insights into how visitors interact with the website and use the information to design targeted ads and create more successful marketing campaigns. Here are some website tracking technologies available.

  • Web analytics tools
  • These tools provide website managers with comprehensive data on their performance. Web analytics tools can show website owners the number of visitors, the pages they visit, and the amount of time they spend on the website. This data enables website owners to identify user segments, optimize content and advertising, and measure website performance.

  • Behavioral targeting
  • Behavioral targeting is a type of website tracking technology that tracks the online behavior of website visitors. It helps website owners gain insight into their target audience's preferences and create more targeted marketing campaigns.

  • Audience segmentation
  • Audience segmentation is a website tracking technology that helps website owners divide their audience into segments based on demographics, behavior, and interests. It allows website owners to target specific audiences with tailored ads and content.

  • Social media tracking
  • Social media tracking is a type of website tracking technology that allows website owners to monitor conversations about their brand on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This data helps to improve customer service and create more effective ad campaigns.

  • User engagement tracking
  • User engagement tracking is a type of website tracking technology that measures if your website engages visitors. The data helps website owners understand how to improve their website's user experience and create more effective marketing campaigns.

    Manage your online privacy with an understanding of cookies

    The need for online privacy protection strategies is more critical as the internet evolves into a crucial part of our lives.

    In a world where data is compiled and utilized, it is critical to take control of our online privacy. Also, one of the best ways to manage privacy is to understand how cookies work. While cookies play significant roles on websites, website users can accept or reject them. However, some cookies are vital for website performance.