How to Grow Your Business in a Cookieless World

Bluestem | AIBF

INTERNET users are more aware than ever of how publishers (i.e. media companies and tech giants like Meta, Google, etc) can not only track their online activity, but how their personal data can be used, shared and monetized.

The average person is exercising an increasing amount of caution with the amount of information they share online. A recent study by Internet Society identified that 75% of consumers distrust how their data is being used.

So, what should Irish businesses consider when it comes to their own e-commerce operations? Stephen Bury, Owner of BlueStem, is here to offer his advice to the All-Ireland Business Times.

An accredited Business All-Star company, BlueStem is a digital marketing agency and certified Google partner, founded and managed by ex-Googlers, which specialises in scaling online businesses from SASS companies to lead generation and e-commerce brands.

“Cookies are small pieces of code installed on a user’s browser that allow websites and businesses to track their behaviour across websites.” explained Stephen.

“At a larger scale many publishers monetize this data with others also using this data to boost machine learning for the platform algorithms such as Meta (formerly Facebook).”

Stephen outlined that in 2020, Apple announced more privacy changes in its iOS 14 update. This prompted users, and requested them to explicitly grant app developers and websites permission to share their unique data for tracking and advertising purposes.

Google has also followed suit announcing that it would be ending individual-based, cross-site tracking on Chrome as well as introducing GA4. This is the fourth, and latest, major release of Google Analytics, free website tracking software that records user numbers, onsite engagement, revenue, and much more.

So what steps do businesses need to take in this evolving e-commerce sector? Here’s what Stephen advises:

Really Understand Your Data

  • All businesses should be reviewing their marketing data on a continuous basis. We recommend using Google Analytics as the main reporting platform, as it applies a consistent attribution to all traffic sources.
  • Gather learnings from time, resources and budget invested into your marketing and compare this with tangible returns, whether it’s contact form leads, calls to online sales/revenue.
  • If you are not seeing metadata in Google Analytics/GA4, consider adding UTMs to support more accurate data reading and attribution.

Stephen Bury, Owner at Bluestem with his All-Star Accreditation Certificate and Medallion.

First Party Data

  • If you are not already, start considering ways in which you can gather first party data from prospective customers. E.g. Using lead generation campaigns.
  • Note: ensure your business/website has sufficient GDPR compliance, cookie policy URLs, etc.


  • The vast majority of Irish businesses are currently using Google Analytics to track their website’s performance. As a priority, all businesses should set up GA4 as soon as possible.
  • GA4 is becoming the default version of Google Analytics and will be the sole option for analytics tracking from July 1, 2023.

The All-Ireland Business Foundation wishes to thank Stephen for taking the time to share his insights with our readers.

Need support on this?

BlueStem is offering AIBF-accredited Business All-Star companies two unique business support packages:

  • Audit and Review: A free consultation and audit of their business website, digital marketing accounts and Google Analytics/GA4 set up.
  • Digital Growth: Designed for businesses looking to scale their online business and revenue. Includes €2,500 discount offer on standard fees and €400 Google Ads Credit. T/Cs apply.
  • Contact for more information.

To learn more about BlueStem, visit their All-Star showcase page here.