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The Plan to Block Browser Cookies & What That Means for Marketers

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All marketers understand the importance of accurate consumer data. After all, it’s this data that allows marketers to create specific ads targeted at an audience that is more likely to engage with their business than others. It is this data that lets consumers easily find products and services that they are looking for online.

Browser cookies play a fundamental role in this marketing process. After all, it is these cookies that track user behavior. They remember login details, products in shopping carts, and much more, even after a user has left a site. However, they also collect certain pieces of information that play a pivotal role in marketing campaigns, such as creating behavior profiles and retargeting.

However, in recent years, there has been a concerted push for increased user privacy. Consumers want their information protected, and many believe removing third-party cookies can do just that. Safari and Mozilla Firefox no longer support these cookies, and google laid out their plan to remove them from Chrome by the end of 2021.

However, getting rid of these third-party cookies can lead to massive issues for marketers moving forward. These cookies are some of the most effective tools marketers have when it comes to putting their brand in front of consumers. Without them, what does that mean for digital marketing?

As a premier North Texas digital advertising agency, ARYU Advertising understands the usefulness of all browser cookies, both first- and third-party. We also recognize that the process of marketing to targeted customers would suffer if browsers block them, which has led to quite the discussion in recent months.

What’s the Difference Between First-Party Cookies and Third-Party?

As we mentioned earlier, users want to protect their privacy now more than ever. These efforts include the removal of third-party cookies from internet browsers. Remember, first-party cookies are not in any danger. While both types of cookies operate in the same way, there are some noteworthy differences that separate the two.

  • First-Party Cookies: These browser cookies are the ones that are created and stored directly on the website (or domain) you visit. Website owners can collect vital analytics, remember language settings, and collect other useful consumer information from users that chose to interact with them. Also, it keeps the session open for users, improving the experience.
  • Third-Party Cookies: Unlike first-party cookies, these cookies are not created by the websites (or domains) you visit. Instead, they are typically used for online advertising purposes. They exist on a website because a third party placed them in a script or tag. Any website that loads the third-party server’s code can access these cookies. Marketers use them for cross-site tracking, retargeting, and ad-serving.

As you can see, there are significant differences between the two. A publisher’s web server or even any loaded JavaScript can set a first-party cookie, while a third-party server must set a third-party cookie.

First-party cookies are only available on the website or domain that created it. However, any website that loads the third-party server code can access third-party cookies.

While all browsers can support both cookies, many browsers are slowly blocking the creation of third-party cookies. Many users are deleting or blocking these cookies themselves. Safari and Mozilla Firefox have already blocked third-party cookies, while Google is slowing phasing them out.

How Do Third-Party Cookies Work?

We have all experienced third-party cookies on countless occasions, even if you didn’t know it. You go online looking for a product or service. While you search, you stumble on a relevant website and visit it. You either make a purchase or not, but eventually, you leave the site.

For several days, even weeks, after leaving this website, you’ll begin to notice ads for relevant services or products. No matter the website, no matter the device, these ads will pop up. Most people’s first instincts are to think it was the website you visited that generated these ads, but that is not the case. A third party creates and leaves these browser cookies on a site.

These ads can be creative or a tracking pixel, which is invisible to users. They act as a tracking cookie when there is no clickable action (as is the case with most ads). These ads follow you because third-party cookies were loaded into your browser.

The web page must first send a request to a third-party server in order for a third-party cookie to be created and installed.

Why Browser Cookies Are Not as Bad as Some Think

Most of the uproar against third-party cookies is because many users see them as an invasion of privacy. After all, they do collect user data that marketers use to target consumers. Naturally, people have an issue with unknown third parties collecting their information and then using it for their own gain. This push for better protection has led to new privacy laws.

However, it pays to look at these cookies in another light. In most cases, webpages rely on these third-party servers to provide you with content for free. They are able to monetize their properties to create content that users can consume. Websites can monetize their content without charging users for consuming it, all thanks to browser cookies.

Additionally, these cookies give you a more customized web experience. Your ads are tailored to you, meaning what you see while you browse the web differs from everyone else.

Without these browser cookies, how will advertisers know when to stop? These cookies track your behavior, so they know who to target. But you won’t see them every day. You may get 10-20 impressions, but unless you engage with the product or site, marketers will put off showing you ads.

However, once these third-party cookies are gone, no one can track consumers. That means these ads won’t stop because marketers cannot see how they are performing. Even if you had no interest in a specific product or service, you might see an ad for it because there wasn’t anything to gauge your interest.

Without these cookies, there is no cross-site view of who you are and what you like. Your experience will no longer be specific to you. You’ll likely see ads from the biggest spenders because they see everyone as their audience.

Moving Forward

Understandably, many consumers would want to see their data and privacy protected. Whether blocking third-party cookies is the answer, it would have drastic effects on the marketing industry. Since Google has not gotten rid of these browser cookies just yet, those in the advertising world have come together to make a push to find a better solution for all parties.

ARYU Advertising understands how vital browser cookies are in collecting data and creating marketing campaigns. We also recognize consumers’ concerns. These next few years will be an interesting period in the world of marketing.