The Pros and Cons of Third-Party Cookies

As a business, data is your number one asset. If you don’t have data, you don’t know who is visiting your website, where they came from, or how they found you.

However, getting data on your visitors – or buying it from other marketing companies – is tricky business. There are concerns about cookies and privacy, permission, and the collection process.

What are browser cookies, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of third-party cookies? Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Browser Cookies?

Simply put, cookies are trackers that are placed on a user’s computer by a website or application. These trackers collect data that is used to provide the user with a more accurate and relevant internet experience. There are two main types of internet cookies: first-party cookies vs. third-party cookies. 

First-party cookies are stored by the website you visit. For instance, a website might follow your activity for the purpose of analyzing which pages are most popular on their website. Cookies are also used to remember user settings, login information, and other useful information. First-party cookies help make a user’s experience on the website more streamlined.

Third-party cookies are created by domains other than the one you are currently viewing. They collect data across websites and help serve you relevant ads. For instance, if you visited Adidas’ website and viewed a specific shoe, there might be a cookie placed in your browser. When you later visit Facebook, the third-party cookie is used to show you ads for that shoe on Facebook.

Most users are fine with first-party cookies because they want a good experience on a specific website. However, third-party cookies are used for retargeting and advertising, which many internet users find invasive.

Benefits of Third-Party Cookies

Despite people’s distaste for them, there are a lot of benefits to third-party cookies. Convenience is a major one. A cookie that follows a user around the internet can allow them to take advantage of pre-filled address information on order forms, for instance. Websites can also get your location and serve you the most relevant information for your area.

Personalization is another major benefit. How would you get related videos on YouTube or related products on Amazon ift your interests and browsing history couldn’t follow you around the web? People enjoy seeing things they have an interest in, and third-party cookies are the reason they can do so.

Finally, relevant ads are an important aspect of these browser cookies. It’s not helpful for either a business or a consumer if the ads being shown have nothing to do with their needs, wants, or desires. It’s a waste of company money and it wastes the prospect's time as well.

With cookies, you can ensure that a person is seeing offers that are the most relevant to their life and goals. That’s a win-win. Most consumers agree – if they have to see ads, they’d rather see relevant ones. 90% of consumers say that irrelevant messages from companies are annoying.

The only way to give users a great online experience is to use cookies to tailor what they see to their personal wishes!

Drawbacks of Using Browser Cookies

The biggest problem that consumers have with third-party cookies is related to cookies and privacy: they feel their privacy is being invaded. How can cookies invade privacy? Cookies allow companies to track every website visited, marketers collect a lot of data about each person. This can be very uncomfortable for consumers, especially since this data can be accessed by almost anyone.

Even the cookies that allow for personalization aren’t without risk. There are security problems in some of the software that can allow outside parties to access name, address, and even credit card information if it’s stored in the browser.

Marketers and software companies often point out that users can enable third-party cookies or disable third-party cookies in their browser depending on the level of their concerns and their personal preferences. However, that’s not easy to do. Not only do many browsers make this option very hard to find, but many web users also don’t have the technical expertise to figure out the process. Software companies have an incentive to hide the options – less data means less money for them.

Use Third-Party Cookies Wisely

In the end, it’s important to use cookies sensibly. It’s vital to share your cookie policy and protect privacy as much as possible.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can drive your brand goals with digital marketing? We’re here to help. Contact us today!

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