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  • Jan 19, 2023
  • 6 MIN
Category Business
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Cookie-less 2023: first party cookies vs third party cookies

Cookie-less 2023: first party cookies vs third party cookies

It seems as if the cookies can stay in the oven a little longer. Third-party cookies have been a healthy part of many marketers’ diets for quite some time, but it’s almost time to change the recipe.

Google will end support for third-party cookies in Chrome in 2024, forcing marketers to choose first-party cookies instead and adjust their strategies. Even though Google has delayed the removal of third-party cookies a few times, now is the perfect time to start changing your approach so that your brand isn’t found lacking come 2024.

Cookies are a vital ingredient in any personalization strategy, so in this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about cookies and the data they provide. We’ll also tell you how you can adjust your cookie strategy with the help of a composable DXP.

Defining the cookie

A cookie is a small text file that contains pieces of data created by a web server and sent to a web browser or device. Cookies are created when someone visits a website and are used to monitor and identify a returning user.

Brands use cookies to track user behavior and collect personal information about users. Cookies are a precious resource for marketing and sales teams, as they store information about a user and can be used to personalize their experience and deliver targeted ads. There are two primary types of cookies, first-party and third-party cookies, and their differences are notable.

What are first-party cookies?

First-party cookies are created by the website a user is visiting. They enable brands to collect data such as language or location settings. For example, if you visit a website from Germany, a cookie will remember that detail and use it to tailor your experience the next time.

When you visit a website, and it remembers your saved preferences, location, items you stored in a shopping cart, this is due to first-party cookies. Customers appreciate these types of cookies as they can enhance the user experience.

What are third-party cookies?

Third-party cookies are created by a domain outside the one user is visiting. These cookies are used for tracking user behavior across different websites and are key to serving ads and retargeting.

Suppose you visit a brand website A because you’re looking for a certain product. You then leave that website and visit another website B in a completely unrelated industry. Yet while browsing website B, you notice an ad for a product or event created by website A. You then visit websites C and D and continue to see ads from website A. This is due to third-party cookies.

While third-party cookies have proven valuable for marketers and advertisers over the years, they can sometimes harm the user experience if it seems like a company is following you around the internet. Also, third-party cookies can’t be stored under data privacy laws like GDPR, hence their impending removal.

Zero-party data explained

Another thing to note when it comes to the ending of third-party cookies is the increasing role of zero-party data.

Cookies collect data on consumers and use that to improve the customer experience. But what if users provided that data themselves?

Zero-party data is data that is purposely and willingly shared with a brand. Data is gathered through direct interactions between brands and customers, such as via quizzes, questionnaires, direct messages, and more.

The data is more accurate as it comes directly from customers and can then be used to deliver a personalized experience. As marketers search for ways to better target customers with relevant ads, zero-party data will prove incredibly useful.

Why should first-party cookies matter to brands? (benefits of first-party cookies)

As third-party cookies are phased out, companies can leverage first-party data to monitor customer behavior and provide the best experience. Some of the other benefits include:

More control and accuracy of data

Data for third-party cookies comes from third-parties that determine what data brands receive. This means that they can’t ensure that the data is relevant, which can lead to ads targeting the wrong audience and other mishaps. First-party cookies provide more control over data which can improve the quality of ads and personalized experiences.

Growing privacy concerns

Regulations such as GDPR have been around for some time, but the privacy problem remains. Customers are weary of what data they share with brands even though they want a personalized customer experience. First-party cookies put customers in control of what information they share and can alleviate the concern that a brand is following them across the internet.

Improved trust

First-party cookies can help brands to build trust with their customers. Since they need to ask for customer permission, it can help create a stronger relationship. Customers that trust a brand will be more likely to be loyal and could eventually become brand advocates.

Personalize the customer experience and go ‘cookie-less’ with Magnolia

Cookies help improve personalization and deliver a better customer experience. However, with the eventual removal of third-party cookies, brands need to find ways to accomplish this.

Magnolia is a composable DXP adept at delivering dynamic customer experiences across multiple channels. With hybrid headless functionality, Magnolia enables marketers to publish content on any device and have full content authoring control without needing IT support. This headless capability also enables Magnolia to easily connect to third-party tools using APIs and Connector Packs.

Magnolia enables you to implement and manage first-party cookies on your website so that you can serve personalized content, as well as to control cookies when using third-party services such as Google Analytics.

Under GDPR, you must inform visitors that your website is using cookies, and, if your cookies store personal data, ask visitors to consent to their data being collected. Via the Cookies app and the Privacy module, you can do that easily in Magnolia, whilst ensuring that your website is fully compliant.

Magnolia also has an out-of-the-box solution to help you take utmost advantage of analytics, especially considering that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is privacy-centric and will work with or without cookies. It uses machine learning and statistical modeling and can fill in data gaps as we become less dependent on cookies.

Part of the Analytics Connector Pack, the Google Analytics connector empowers development teams to easily connect Google Analytics to Magnolia with just a few lines of configuration and marketing teams to see the analytics data where they typically work - inside the CMS. The data from Google Analytics is rendered as user-friendly charts and visual indicators inside Magnolia.

Discover more on how you can leverage analytics and Magnolia, by reading our in-depth blog: Integrating Your Content Management With Your Analytics.

About the Author

Sorina Mone Marketer at Magnolia

Sorina shapes Magnolia’s brand and product communications, with a focus on creating demand and on enabling sales, partners & clients to make the most out of this great product.

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