First Party Cookies - The Secret Ingredient of Successful Marketing

When we talk about cookies, we usually mean third-party cookies.

First-party cookies can have important implications for marketers; therefore, I like to focus on them and share my thoughts on the importance of the topic.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small piece of data stored on the browser, computer, or mobile device. 

Cookies can be used for many different purposes. They can be used to store user preferences for the site, track user behavior on the site, remember user login details, and provide other functionality.

For example, if you are shopping online, it is common for a website to use cookies to remember what you have added to your basket or wish list. When you log in to a website using social media (for example, Facebook), it is common for the website to use cookies to remember who you are so you don’t have to log in every time you visit.

What are the different types of cookies?

first-party cookie

A cookie that the website or application the user visits sends directly to his browser. 

It is often used for security purposes or to remember your set preferences. For example, placing the user login details on websites with login functionality, tracking how a user navigates a website to be optimized, and remember which pages the user has visited on the website.

Second-party cookie

This is a cookie sent to a third-party server, usually for that server to remember something about the user. 

For example, a user may be on a website that sends cookies to a third-party server to track his site use. This is not a first-party cookie because it is not sent directly to the user browser.

Third-party cookie

These are cookies that are set by a third-party server (for example, a social media site). 

They are stored on the user’s browser or device and can be used to track his use of a website. This is mainly used for advertising purposes.

Third-party Cookies' days are numbered

Many within the tech industry are declaring that third-party cookies (and targeted ads powered by them) will soon cease to exist due to pressure from regulators and consumers. 

Following the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passage, governments seek to protect website users’ privacy rights. Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox now block cookies from third parties by default. 

The market giant Google also announced in 2017 that it would no longer allow third-party cookies in Google Chrome after 2022. This announcement caused a stir, as Google Chrome has a market share of 70 percent.

Is the absence of third-party data going to affect digital marketing?

Well, yes.

Third-party cookies are used by companies like Facebook and Google, and other advertisers. The ads they serve are targeted to you based on the user’s gender, age, location, interests, and browsing history.

Third-party cookies are the biggest privacy issue in the digital marketing industry. It’s estimated that third-party cookies make up 70% of all digital ad revenue.

Advertisers and business owners must learn how third-party cookies affect their marketing strategy and develop alternative approaches to overcome this problem.

Working Around the Problem - Investing in First-Party Data

So how can first-party data help us solve the problems that arise from third-party cookies’ new policy, and how can we take advantage of first-party data to improve our marketing efforts?

First-party data gives you the most comprehensive view of your customers, which is the key to effective marketing. It gives you complete control over your data, the opportunity to learn about your customers more deeply, and the ability to manage and protect it. 

Most important, first-party data helps you make more informed decisions and build stronger customer relationships. It’s also much cheaper to collect and store than third-party data.

From my experience, companies that have already made the shift to first-party data have seen considerable improvements in their marketing and customer experience.

How can first-party data be effectively collected?

We can improve our marketing efforts and deliver better customer experiences using first-party data. 

We can also build better products and services, increase revenue, and optimize the customer journey.

The key to first-party data is to collect it so that it does not invade the customer’s privacy and does not cause harm. You should also ensure that the information you collect is accurate and useful.

First-party data is collected in three main ways:

  • Collecting information from the customer’s browser.
  • Collecting information from the customer’s device.
  • Collecting information from the customer’s interaction with the company.

An example of a user interaction would be signing up for a newsletter, completing a form, clicking on a website link, downloading an application, or visiting a page.

As the use of third-party cookies ends, I encourage business owners and advertisers to start investing in first-party cookies, develop appropriate strategies, and leverage existing resources to remain competitive.