Home » International digital marketing » What is the Difference Between First-Party and Third-Party Cookies?

What is the Difference Between First-Party and Third-Party Cookies?

First- and third-party cookies, the small text files that are stored on our computers or devices when we visit websites, are helping to improve user experience, track preferences, and personalize content. However, cookies can be categorized into two main types: first-party and third-party cookies.

In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between these two types of cookies and shed light on their respective roles in the world of web browsing.

Need help with your cookies? We are certified data privacy and cookie partner of Cookiebot CMP

Contact us for more

What are first-party and third-party cookies?

First-party cookies are set by the website you are visiting and are primarily used to improve user experience, while third-party cookies come from external domains and are often utilized for targeted advertising and user tracking.

First-party cookies

First-party cookies are generated by the website you are currently visiting. They are set by the domain displayed in the address bar of your web browser. The primary purpose of first-party cookies is to enhance user experience by remembering user preferences, login details, and other relevant data, which helps to provide a more personalized and efficient browsing session on subsequent visits.

Since first-party cookies are generated by the website itself, they are generally considered less invasive and pose fewer privacy risks. The information stored in first-party cookies is limited to the domain you are interacting with, and it is mainly used to enhance your browsing experience on that particular website.

Third-party cookies

On the other hand, third-party cookies are created by domains other than the one you are currently visiting. These cookies originate from external sources, such as advertisers or social media platforms, that have embedded content like ads, social media widgets, or tracking scripts on the website you are browsing. Third-party cookies are often used for targeted advertising, behavioral tracking, and retargeting purposes.

Third-party cookies, however, have raised significant privacy concerns. These cookies can track users across multiple websites, allowing advertisers to build detailed profiles of individuals’ online behavior. While this can lead to more targeted and relevant advertising, it also raises concerns about user privacy, data collection, and the potential for misuse of personal information.

Regulation and changes in the digital landscape

Due to increasing concerns about online privacy and data protection, many countries and regions have introduced regulations to control the use of cookies. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are two notable examples that have impacted how websites handle cookies and user consent.

In response to privacy concerns and regulatory pressures, major web browsers such as Google have taken steps to limit third-party cookies. For instance, several browsers have implemented privacy features or announced plans to phase out support for third-party cookies entirely. This shift marks a pivotal moment in the digital advertising landscape, prompting marketers and advertisers to explore alternative ways to reach their target audiences.

The future of third-party cookies and online advertising

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the role of cookies in online advertising and user tracking is likely to change significantly. The decline of third-party cookies may pave the way for more privacy-focused advertising methods, such as:

  1. Invest in first-party data: First-party data refers to information collected directly from customers or website visitors. This data is valuable because it is unique to your business and provides insights into customer behavior and preferences.
  2. Grow your customer database: With the decline of third-party cookies, it becomes even more important to focus on collecting and building your customer data. Gather customer information from landing pages, lead ads, event registrations, or even file downloads. Consider implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system like HubSpot to effectively manage and organize your first-party data.
  3. Contextual advertising: Contextual advertising delivers relevant ads to users based on the content of the webpage they are currently viewing. Instead of relying on cookies to track user behavior across the entire web, contextual advertising focuses on the content the user is consuming at that moment. This approach is less invasive compared to tracking user behavior and can be equally effective in delivering targeted ads.
  4. Prioritize transparency and relevant content delivery: Prioritize transparency in data collection and usage. With growing privacy concerns and regulatory pressures, consumers are aware of how their data is being collected and used. Marketers and business owners should be open about what data they collect and how they use it, obtaining clear consent from users before collecting and using data. By providing relevant and genuinely interesting content to users and being transparent about how their data is used, you can achieve better results in customer data collection.

Additionally, technologies like Privacy Sandbox, developed by Google, aim to strike a balance between user privacy and personalized advertising by introducing new methods for ad targeting that don’t rely on third-party cookies.

If you have any questions or difficulties in integrating cookies on your website, contact us!

Complying with GDPR using Cookiebot CMP

As we explained previous, different data protection regulation impose strict rules on data protection and user consent. It is very important to keep up with the lates regulations and implement cookies on your website to comply with those.

One good option is to choose Cookiebot. Cookiebot CMP (Consent Management Platform) helps you comply with the regulations by:

  • Customizable consent banner: Implement a customizable consent banner that informs users about cookie usage and allows them to provide or deny consent.
  • Granular consent options: Offer granular choices to users for enabling specific cookie categories, respecting their privacy preferences.
  • Automatic blocking: Block non-essential cookies until the user provides explicit consent, ensuring compliance with GDPR guidelines.

We are certified data privacy and cookie partner with Cookiebot

As a certified partner, we ensures that your website complies with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR, by seamlessly integrating Cookiebot’s Consent Management Platform (CMP).

With our expertise and Cookiebot’s technology, you can confidently navigate the complex landscape of data privacy and cookies.