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What Are Third-Party Cookies And How Are They Useful?

You’ve probably seen third-party cookies in action if you’ve spent any time on the internet. How many times have you gone to an online store, looked at a few stuff, and then seen ads for the same things on entirely other websites?

Third-party cookies operate in this manner: they observe your activity outside of the brand’s environment and then utilize that behavior to send targeted advertising to assist you in transitioning from a browsing consumer to a purchasing customer. That’s why they are also known as ‘targeting’ cookies or ‘tracking’ cookies. In the long run, the information marketers get from tracking cookies is used to develop extensive client profiles.

Image Source: Ad PushUp

What Exactly Are Third Party Cookies?

Cookies that come from a third party, such as an advertiser, rather than the website operator are known as third-party cookies. 

When you visit a website for the first time, the webserver often creates a so-called first-party cookie, which retains all of the user’s essential settings and inputs. This first-party cookie is read when you return to the site to recover preferences and other information, such as log-in information. This enhances usability.

Tracking cookies, on the other hand, are stored on a server owned by an advertiser (an “ad server”) and are used to track a user’s online activity and journey to develop a user profile.

It is then feasible to display personalized advertisements to the user based on this user profile. Third-party cookies, often known as “tracking cookies” and “targeted cookies,” are effective digital marketing tools.

Image Source: Bounteous

What Are Third-Party Cookies Used For?

Third-party cookies or ‘targeting’ cookies are typically used for web analytics. This can occur if your web browser runs an advertisement or a so-called targeting pixel that is not housed on the server of the website you are visiting. As it is not allocated to the website’s server, but the advertiser’s, your web browser produces an extra cookie, the third-party cookie.

The targeting cookie reads all of the information recorded by the first-party cookie, and sometimes even more.

Since web analysts are primarily concerned about user activity, a third-party cookie is typically used to keep track of a website’s page history. However, when this cookie “notices” you on another page, it generally obtains meaningful data.

As your web browser interacts with the same ad server, again and again, it can trace your journey on the web. Not just that, but your web activity exposes a lot about your interests and consumer behavior. This enables the creation of a user profile, which allows for targeted and personalized advertising.

What Kind Of Data Do Third-Party Cookies Collect?

Third-party cookies, in particular, collect important information regarding:

  • Age, gender, and location (personal data).
  • The website that produced the cookie (visited website).
  • Subpages accessed on the website.
  • The time spent on the website and its subpages.

If this information is collected across multiple websites, a unique user profile can be developed, allowing for personalized advertising. Third-party cookies, in particular, are used in digital marketing for targeting, monitoring, and re-tracking.

Image Source: Ad PushUp

How Are Third-Party Cookies Useful?

Digital advertisers have built their businesses on the power to follow web users and then target them with adverts since the late 1990s, with third-party cookies playing a significant role. 

 Are these ‘tracking’ cookies beneficial to users? Yes, in a manner.

The two major digital marketing companies, Google Ads and AdSense, make a legitimate argument that third-party cookies are beneficial to customers because they help develop adverts that are based on individual interests. After all, if you are obliged to view the ads, it is preferable if they are relevant to your interests.

Advantages Of Third Party Cookies To The Users:

  • Personalization makes the website appear more customized.
  • Third-party cookies track your interests and provide relevant adverts, so you won’t see anything you’re not interested in.
  • Website operators must be open and honest about cookie usage.
  • Most browsers allow you to block third-party cookies if needed.

Why are third-party cookies going to get banned?

Image Source: Ad Age

All of the methods used to monitor, target, and analyze results in digital marketing rely on cookies. Cookies monitor users secretly.

Companies often don’t care about informing the users about how much of their data is being stored and how that data is going to be utilized. 

Users have less to no influence over who collects this data or where it goes —they may remove cookies from their browsers, but will never be able to modify or remove servers containing third-party data that has already been collected.

What Happens When Third-party Cookies Are Disabled?

When tracking cookies are no longer used, online adverts will most likely revert to contextual ads. That is, adverts customized to certain demographics based on the page viewed, similar to how magazines work.

Although personalized marketing is far more profitable, large advertising networks may devise new techniques to monitor consumers across websites and retrieve past search histories.

Author avatar
Arundhati Sensharma