What Are Browsers Doing About 3rd Party Cookies?

Posted 02.06.2020

By Luke Pickering

So we’ve seen that there is a phasing out of third-party cookies but it could have quite a sizable impact upon the industry. To start with the very basics, a cookie is a small text file that stores a lot of information about a user’s browsing behaviour and their online activity. But cookies are broken down into two different types, first and third party. However, it seems like third party cookies days are numbered with more and more people becoming aware of their privacy. With the introduction of GDPR, browsers have had to change how they handle their cookies. This could end up causing a lot of issues for digital marketers as they have been relied upon for a while.

What’s the difference between 1st and 3rd party cookies?

A very simple question but there is a big difference in the two and how they are being received in the community. A first-party cookie is created by the website you’re on and are accepted by most people. However, third-party cookies are the ones that follow you around and learn your browsing behaviour on a wider scale. They’re used a great deal in online advertising.


Google Chrome is the number one browser in the world with nearly 64% of all internet users opting to use it. But this kind of market share means that any changes they make to their algorithms or marketing methods are going to have the strongest impact on the industry, so anything that is rolled out is going to have to be done very slowly so that it doesn’t push users and businesses away. While Chrome doesn’t automatically block third-party cookies by default it can be done in your settings. We got big news at the start of this year regarding third-party cookies with Google Chrome announcing that they are going to be shutting off all support for third-party cookies by 2022, this is great as it gives marketers some time to come up with alternative methods.


Mozilla Firefox is an open-source browser that was created by a non-profit organization and is very regularly audited and is known for being quick and private. Due to the fact it was created by a non-profit, they can’t engage in shady practices so their stance on third-party cookies was a pretty clear message. As of June 2019, they blocked third-party cookies. This was a very quick and sudden move that they made but it was one that they felt was in the best interest of their users and improving their experience. It’s definitely one of the most drastic measures that any of the browsers have taken.


Apple has definitely stood against third-party cookies for a few years now. They released their Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), a brand new privacy feature that came along with Safari 11 back in 2017. The difference in Apples’ stance and the other browsers is that Apple doesn’t rely on advertising for their revenue whereas other platforms do. They have now taken this stand against third-party cookies and obviously has some knock-on effects for the cookies that still remain. For example, we now see safari’s cookies only lasting for one week where they previously used to last for years. But not only is this change going to affect digital marketers and actually advertising to the users but is also going to greatly affect attribution.  Previously, we’d be able to see a full user journey from the first touchpoint all the way to the last and attribute credit to each channel that played a role in the conversion. Now that it is limited to 7 days this means if your user first arrived via Facebook, but then converted 14 days later from an organic search session, SEO would be credited 100%.

Marketing is going to change and your business could quite possibly start to see some changes too, so it’s important to keep an eye on the changes these browsers are making. If you want some help with your digital marketing don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts…

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