What Are Login Cookies And How To Use Them?
Cookies are temporary session identifiers stored locally on your browser. They allow connecting securely to the websites you browse every day and remember your preferences or favorite pages you follow.
Famous examples include Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, LinkedIn Insight Tag, and Adobe Analytics.
Cookies also contain browser fingerprints such as the browser and the operating system you use.
Social media networks use various types of cookies for advertising and authentication purposes.
You must have seen those cookie alerts inviting you to accept cookies in your browser:
Here, TexAu uses Linkedin cookies to connect to your LinkedIn account, for instance.
Cookies improve your browsing experience. For example, cookies allow you to connect to a website once without entering your login and password every time you visit the website.
It also stores your website preferences such as privacy settings, analytics, ads, tracking.
These can be items you left in your shopping cart or your language and location settings. Cookies also play an essential role in your online experience by displaying relevant advertising according to your preferences. That's how advertising campaigns retarget you using cookies.
Solutions like TexAu use authentication cookies to automate your account without providing your logins for authentication.
TexAu stores those cookies until they expire, which allows you to connect to your social account from our platform.
Cookies are like your digital fingerprint on the internet and inform each website it's you and no one else.
There are two ways to connect to social platforms:
- Direct login with your password
Both go hand in hand: logging in to your social account will generate a unique cookie.
"Cookie" derives from "magic cookies". This term was coined by former Netscape engineer Lou Montulli, a pioneer who contributed to the birth of HTTP Cookies as we know them today.
Now, why is it called a cookie specifically? A cookie also means a data packet sent from one computer to another while remaining unchanged, like a token. It dates back to the old days of UNIX systems.
Why does it refer to cooking and pastries like website breadcrumbs?
The mystery remains unsolved.
Here, the websites store first-party cookies you visit at the server domain level (cookie domain). Websites store these cookies for user experience, account settings, personalization, and product recommendation.
TexAu only uses authentication cookies to log in to your account securely.
Partner ads network websites deliver third-party cookies for behavioral advertising, analytics, and user tracking (marketing cookies).
Zombie cookies (or spyware cookies) are dangerous cookies often present in adware or various bundleware that collect your data without consent.
Non-persistent cookies (also called session cookies or server-side cookies) are temporary cookies stored on the website server-side instead of your browser. Session cookies expiry happens once the site website session closes after some inactivity or user log out.
Session cookies don't have an expiration time date by default. If the cookie doesn't expire, it becomes a persistent session cookie. That's why people often confuse session cookies with persistent cookies.
On the other hand, permanent cookies are browser cookies stored on your device (computer, phone):
- Authentication & Browser Session Management
- Personalization: site preferences, privacy settings, image personalization (Hyperise, Nexweave)
- Analytics and Ads Tracking: also referred to as "marketing cookies" and used by advertising companies.
A cookie can last only for a short time, usually a few weeks.
Cookie expiration occurs when:
- The website closes the session after some time of inactivity or excessive scraping.
- You log off your account.
- You delete your cookie (flushing browser history, closing the incognito browser).
Yes, third-party cookies are safe. Secure cookies are encrypted with a session key on the target website application server.
You don't have to remember anything from the table below; this is only for informative purposes:
TexAu connects social platforms using a secure cookie. It uses the secure attribute defined by your browser secure agent.
The advantage of using cookies here is that TexAu will never store or use your login & password. It's all yours and personal.
For instance, other solutions like Expandi ask your Linkedin login and password.
It's only a choice, and none of these methods is less secure than the other. One focuses on online privacy (cookies), and the other brings convenience (no need to refresh cookies since you connect using your social logins).
Cookies have another advantage: If you use TexAu for your team or your clients automating their social accounts, you will never have to ask for their password, which is convenient and secure.
The drawback is cookies do expire.
Usually, they can last between 2 to 3 weeks if you don't flush your browser's active connections or log out of your social account.
When your cookie expires, it's the same as a logout. You won't be able to connect to your social account.
That's similar to what will happen if a user clears the Analytics cookie from their browser. They will need to log in again to their account to obtain a new browser cookie.
You can see your cookie using Chrome Developer Tools in the Application tab, then Cookies:
But thankfully, there is a TexAu chrome extension for this. You can download it here:
This extension will allow you to paste your fresh cookies into TexAu.
- Log in to your social accounts (Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and launch the TexAu chrome extension.
- Paste the cookie values it displays for each platform you wish to automate in TexAu.
- All these cookies are DIFFERENT for each platform and EACH different accounts you may have. So the cookie for Linkedin is not the same you will use for Facebook and so on. Seem obvious, but not for everybody.
There are four ways to do so:
- In each automation you want to run, and BEFORE you run it:
- In EACH automation module, composing a workflow (linking modules to form an automation flow)
- In the Cookie Manager
- Advanced: storing it as VARIABLE
Recipes are made of spices. So similar as before but visually different. Here you can add your cookies by copy-pasting their value from the TexAu Chrome extension or if you are using the Cloud version in your browser, you can automatically collect it by click the "Get Cookie" button.
See this video to learn how to use the cookie manager:
If you manage multiple accounts, you will have to create different workspaces for each set.
For each of these workspaces, you will be able to manage all your cookies via the cookie manager:
To add those, it's straightforward:
- Add your proxy so TexAu will grab your cookie connected behind a proxy
- Click the "Get Cookie" blue button to fill your current session cookies automatically
- Click the "Check Cookie blue button so TexAu will check the validity of your cookie
- Once you fill your cookie on all platforms using the same process, you will need to update those every time you click the "Update Cookies" blue button to update all cookies.
On the desktop app, it’s the same, minus the proxy toggle and cookie auto-fetching (get cookie button):
You will be able to check if your cookies are stored once you see the "Connected As" notification showing up:
The benefit of storing your cookies that way is that each time they expire (every 2-3 weeks), you will be able to update them in the Cookie Manager, and TexAu will use this cookie in ALL the automation modules used in your workflows.
That means you won't need to open every automation module setting tab to copy/paste your cookie every time they expire.
The advantage of this is by storing your cookies from the cookie manager. You don't need to input those in every modules:
Important Note: when using the Cookie Manager, don't fill any cookies in any automation modules of your workflow (leave it empty). Otherwise, the cookie you fill in each module will be overwritten by the one in the Cookie Manager. As a result, if the cookie in the manager expires it will overwrite any valid cookie you enter in the direct input field.
So it's easy: use the Cookie Manager solely or Direct Input, BUT NOT BOTH.
Another advanced and convenient way to store cookies is to use local or global variables.
It's handy for multi-client or sales team management.
For example, instead of asking your sales team or clients to give you their cookies every day from the TexAu chrome extension, what you could do is ask them once every 2-3 weeks until their cookie expires and store it in a variable.
Also, instead of updating all the modules of a workflow like this below one by one to update their cookies, you could update just ONE component (the local/global variable storing their cookie) to update ALL the cookies using a single variable.
For example: 1 client/sales account = 1 cookie = 1 local/global variable.
So when you manage a workflow like the one below, you don’t want to lose time copy-pasting and updating cookies in each module:
So how do you do that?
A global variable is a variable that you can access globally in all modules of a workflow at any node.
To create a global variable, go to your TexAu dashboard in the account menu:
Then go to the "variables" tab:
Click the "+ New Variable" blue button, add your variable name (ex: "client-name-Li-cookie" without brackets " ", whatever name you like that's memorable), then paste the cookie value in "Variable Value":
- Create a new variable.
- Add a name to your variable (ex: your cookie: "liCookie").
- Paste the cookie value you got from the chrome extension.
- Finally, click "Add" to save your cookie.
Now, this global variable will be stored and accessible everywhere in TexAu. In addition, you will be able to update all automation and workflows using this variable from this same tab once it expires.
You can only use a local variable locally in the workflow where you created it. It won't be available inside other worflows, only inside the one it originated.
Do you need to use a local or global variable? It's a personal choice and is entirely up to you.
A global variable can come in handy if you have a long-term client.
A local variable makes more sense if used only in one workflow (ex: for one client or one sales rep you manage).
When your cookie expires, you will update a global variable value from your admin dashboard preferences. In contrast, you will update a local variable from inside the workflow where you created it.
To create a local variable, hop inside one of your workflow and click on the "variables" button in the upper left corner of the menu:
You'll see that we can access the global variable we created before.
Now click on the blue button "new" on the Local Variables line below to create a new local variable:
Add a memorable local variable name (something like "client_name_Li_cookie_local", whatever you like), add the cookie value you get from the chrome extension in the "Variable Value" filed, then click the blue "Add" button:
Your local variable will be accessible everywhere inside the workflow you created first (only that one, not the other workflows, unlike global variables).
Do you see these three horizontal lines little button highlighted below?
Those will allow you to add any local or global variables. Remember, variables can be ANYTHING.
But is this tutorial, it's cookies:
To add your local or global variable as cookies, click the button highlighted below in the cookie field, then select your cookie:
Note: Since in single automation settings can't be stored unlike Workflows, once the automation execution is stopped or completed, the local variable you created for it will be lost. So maybe, in this case, it's better to use a global variable for that reason.
Similarly, you can also add cookies as local or global variables in your workflows.
Click on any social network automation module in the workflow, then in the cookie field, click the small blue (+) sign labeled "Insert variables":
Then select either your local or global variable for that social network. You can create and add as many variables you want here:
Once added, you will see a "greyed out" variable:
Then add the same variable to all the modules belonging to the same social media platform in the workflow:
Now an excellent question: how do you update those cookies added as variables?
Well, it's super easy and will spare you a ton of your time.
In automation modules, you can only reuse and update global variables.
For updating your global variable, go to your account preferences again, then in the variables menu as we did before.
Put your mouse cursor and double-click on the field containing your cookie value, and hit the delete key on your keyboard.
Then copy the new cookie from the TexAu chrome extension and paste the new value in your cookie value field.
No need to save anything. The value will be auto-saved. Neat.
If for whatever reason, you want to delete the previously created variable, you can do so by deleting the previous cookie with the small (x) button and then creating a new one:
In workflow, you can update both local and global variables.
Same as before, you can double click on each variable value field containing your cookie, then hit the delete key (not clicking on the cross sign!), and paste your fresh cookie there. Click outside the popup window. TexAu will auto-save the results automatically.
You could update Global Variable in your workflows as we did before from the account preferences, but that way of doing it INSIDE the workflow builder is more convenient.
Finally, you can get a notification when your cookie expires by:
- In-app notification in the TexAu app
To activate email notifications, go to your account settings:
Then go to the notification menu and tick the box called “action required” for both single automation and workflows: