How will online retailers conquer the cookie apocalypse? (

With growing calls for consumer privacy on the web, Google parent company Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. plan or already have made major changes to customer tracking. Apple now requires user opt-in for apps to track users, and Google is getting rid of third-party cookies on its market-leading Chrome browser. While these changes hearten privacy advocates, they’re likely to disrupt online retailers’ longstanding marketing practices. Without accurate consumer tracking, merchants are worried that a portion of their ads will be less effective at driving sales. In response, merchants plan to shift their marketing dollars to other channels that are more predictable at driving revenue.

Online cookies are small pieces of text websites placed on a site visitor’s browser to track preferences, such as language, to know what consumers are interested in, and facilitate other functions. More companies started using cookies in late 1995 after Microsoft Corp. integrated them into its Internet Explorer browser. There are many different types of cookies, but third-party cookies are controversial because advertisers, marketers and data-analytics firms place them on consumers’ devices to know where a consumer’s been on the web, leading to more targeted ads.
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