Not All Cookies Are Created Equal: Internet Cookies and Their Impact on Your Business

What’s an Internet Cookie?

Internet cookies are used by web sites to remember visitors and support a more personalized web site experience (among other things). When using marketing automation platforms (MAPs) like Eloqua or Marketo, for example, tracking scripts are added to your web site to enable the MAP to track visits and support advanced web-based segmentation capabilities.

Over the past several years, as privacy concerns have increased, browsers and devices have employed a variety of tools and restrictions to limit how cookies function.

But not all cookies are created equal – there is a significant difference between 1st party and 3rd party cookies and how it impacts your marketing efforts and overall customer experience. Do you know what type of cookie your MAP is using?

Understanding what you can do to bypass these restrictive browser and device efforts will ultimately yield a more positive experience for your website visitor, and ensure your MAP is working to its full potential.

So…What’s the Difference? 1st Party Versus 3rd Party Cookies

The difference between 1st party and 3rd party cookies is all about trust.

By default, 1st party cookies are allowed by all devices and browsers (although a web user still can adjust their settings in order to disable 1st party cookies). A 1st party cookie is a cookie that is saved to the user’s device once they visit a website. This cookie is controlled by the owner of the website and therefore, is trusted as a source. This cookie can provide the user a more personalized experience by pulling in saved user data for more appropriate website promotions/advertisements, pre-filled forms, and other such personalized experiences.

However, the same website may also have cookies that are not controlled by the owner of the website, and these are considered 3rd party cookies. 3rd party cookies are less trustworthy because the domain name does not equal the website domain they are living on, and as a result, more and more browsers and devices have been blocking 3rd party cookies by default.

For example, IOS devices (i.e., Apple) block 3rd party cookies by default, Google Chrome allows 3rd party cookies by default, and just recently, FireFox has decided to block  3rd party cookies by default.

How Cookies Impact Your Website User and Your Business

The impact of using cookies on your website will depend on how the website was developed and/or how your digital solution was architected.

This scenario becomes increasingly problematic if relied upon to support a GDPR solution, or when locating data that may be critical to a purchase or accessing an asset (e.g., white paper). As a result of this potential restriction, it is essential that blocked 3rd party cookies do not prevent the website user from continuing their “Buyer’s Journey”.

Regain Trust: Moving Towards 1st Party Cookies

In general, an effort should be made to limit your dependency upon solutions that rely on a 3rd party cookie. Instead, your digital marketing strategy should include confirmation that 1st party cookies are being utilized, or not relied upon at all!

But how do you know if your MAP is providing you code with 1st party or 3rd party cookies? Each MAP is different, and each solution unique. You may be using 3rd party cookies today without even knowing it.

Contact Definitive Results today for an assessment of your MAP and website cookies. Improve your customer experience, Buyer’s Journey, and ultimately, improve the techniques you have in your digital marketing toolkit. Your revenue cycle will thank you!

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