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How Will Brands Gain Customer Data When Cookie Bans Are On The Up? Why Not Just Ask For It

By Russell Loarridge | Posted on August 03, 2017

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Russell Loarridge, Janrain’s Director of Customer Acquisition in Europe, shares his latest views on marketing, social user management and customer engagement.

With the future of ‘the cookie’ increasingly in question, the recent research whitepaper (Display Advertising at Scale, Dec ’12) from Semcasting, draws into sharp focus the inherent difficulties with gathering data on consumers’ behaviour on a website. Though complex analytic and segmentation exercises are undoubtedly improving the way information is presented back to customers based on their activity, customer profiles are still essentially guesswork and they will be even more so if cookies continue to be blocked, and indeed increasingly become so.


There is a much simpler, fool proof approach: in an era of social networking and a consumer base keen to share experience and content – just ask. Organisations that leverage social login – the ability for consumers to use their social media identity to register and log in to a brand’s website – can transform customer insight and gain unprecedented understanding based on the customer’s own social network profiles. And with cookies on the decline, this kind of data will be extremely beneficial to brands and advertisers.

For a lot of organisations, using cookies can be an initial step in a move to become more targeted, relevant and personalised in their online customer engagement, however the overall process can be flawed because it is fundamentally based on extrapolation.

For example, if an individual is visiting a website to buy a gift for his or her pregnant sister, they may continue to be targeted with offers for new or expectant mothers when visiting that site again. Furthermore, if a consumer deletes their cookies or clears their cache, all data and insight (however, flawed or inaccurate) is then lost.

Customers want a more relevant online experience; they want targeted, timely offers and they don’t want to register for each new site. Recent Janrain research shows that 98% of customers are not getting a targeted and relevant experience even on sites that use cookies, stating that they have all been offered promotions that are not relevant to them. Therefore the targeting that is currently happening with cookies is increasingly irrelevant. Growing numbers actively want to share social information, especially if it will contribute to a better, easier online experience. For the retailers and publishers still searching for the holy grail of customer insight and the chance to undertake true one to one marketing, social login is the simplest, most obvious solution.

Businesses who offer a compelling reason for customers to use social login and share information – or even just offer social login – will benefit from this huge opportunity to gain new, committed and interested customers via shares to the extended social graph. These latest statistics on cookies are yet another example of the challenges facing marketers in understanding what their consumers really want – so surely it would be easier to just ask them?

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About the author

Russell Loarridge

Managing Director, Europe

Russell Loarridge has a long pedigree in leading business development for both multi-national technology companies and growing revenues in start-up situations through organic and acquisition growth strategies. Russell has over 20 years’ experience in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCRM, personalisation and internet marketing sectors, having worked with industry forerunners including Internet Marketing Solutions, a start-up that he successfully sold privately to NASDAQ listed CRM provider, Firstwave Technologies and more recently Bazaarvoice now listed on NASDAQ. Russell’s industry experience makes him a respected industry commentator with particular expertise on the integration of all forms of e-commerce with the traditional world of bricks and mortar, further enhancing Janrain’s international reputation as an increasingly prominent voice in the social user management marketplace.

View all posts by Russell Loarridge