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Third Party Cookies in 2024: What Will Their Ban Change?

Third party cookies have been used to track website visitors for years. Collecting data from third party cookies provide insights into what visitors do on the websites and allow the companies to improve marketing and sales strategies.

The use of third party cookies is changing possibly due to consumer reactions. Firefox has started to block all third-party cookies by default in 2019, Safari has started to apply this ban in 2020. Apple rolled out a software update in 2021 that requires advertisers to ask permission to track the activities of iOS users. Though it is a positive step for privacy, there are issues in its implementation.

Google has announced in February 2020 that third-party cookies will be removed from Chrome starting from 2022 due to its Privacy Sandbox. By this project, Google is planning use browser-based application programming interfaces (API) also called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) which have privacy-preserving features.

It is a significant decision, because Google Chrome has 67% of the global desktop internet browser market share as of March 2021.

What is third party cookies?

Third party cookies are cookies set by a website other than the one the visitor is visiting at the time. Third party cookies are effective tools to learn about online behavior of visitors such as websites they visit and their purchases, etc. Third party cookies are used to track visitors and save information about their actions and transactions. This collected information helps businesses to identify effective advertisements and marketing campaigns.

Privacy advocates are against third party cookies and see it as an intrusive surveillance technology.

What are other cookies?

First party cookies are directly stored by the website the user is visiting. They allow websites to track visitor’s actions like third party cookies and used to improve user experience as well as provide functionality like login etc. Domains benefit from first party cookies to calculate the number of page views, users and sessions, etc.

Second party cookies are used to share data of visitors or users between two parties for advertising due to their data partnership.

After Safari and Firefox, Google will stop Chrome’s support third-party cookies at the end of 2023 by default, this is called the sunset of the third party cookies ban. The main reasons of this ban are

  • Concerns about privacy on the web
  • Data protection regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Google plans to use Privacy Sandbox as an alternative for third party cookies. The company has suggested FLoC in 2021 and intends to use FLoC in the future according its announcement.

Third party cookies allow companies to build targeted and personalized ads and content. Many businesses will be affected by that ban and they will seek new ways for their marketing activities and functions. Marketing & sales departments and adtech vendors will be especially impacted.

Significant changes in the marketing processes will be need to be made, for example in the areas of campaign management, customer segmentation and profiling.

It is expected that more companies will use first party cookies to track their users. First party cookies are more privacy-friendly and are effective in improving results of campaigns. The first party cookies may be a chance for companies to build a trustworthy relationship with their customers.

Other alternatives to third party cookies include

  • Browser fingerprinting: By getting detailed attributes of users such as their screen resolution, installed browser extensions and browser version, companies can track granular segments of users. Fingerprinting also allows detailed survaillance of online user behavior and most privacy advocates are against its use.
  • Contextual advertising : Advertisements target to specific user groups by using data from the media company. For example, an article about automobiles could carry advertising about a car company.

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This article was drafted by former AIMultiple industry analyst Ayşegül Takımoğlu.

Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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