Online users are becoming frustrated with intrusive tracking cookies and intimidating cookie banners that are popping up on websites. Now that Google has made the user experience an official SEO ranking signal, not only could this cause your online visibility to take a hit, but your relationship with users may also be in jeopardy.
According to Intechnic, 79 percent of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go search for another site. We know like you know, that other site will most likely be a competitor of yours. Learn how you can leverage first-party cookies to improve the user experience and ultimately save relationships with online prospects.
What Are Cookies?
Cookies, also known as HTTP cookies, are small pieces of text that come from a website that a user visits. They can identify your computer, and they are used to communicate with your web browser and restore your preferences based on information collected from a previous visit. Cookies can auto-fill your username, password, telephone number, email address, and other personal information to create a seamless web browsing experience.
When it comes to the user experience, cookie-based tracking can have its benefits, as well as its disadvantages.
Types of Web Tracking Cookies
There are three different types of web tracking cookies. Although third-party cookies have been the most frequently used cookie type for advertisements, each cookie type has its own unique purpose. View the table below to compare each cookie type and how they operate.
|First-Party Cookies||Second-Party Cookies||Third-Party Cookies|
|How are they collected?||Data retrieved by your business||Shared data that has been retrieved by another source||Combined data retrieved from an assortment of sources|
|Is permission required?||Does not require permission to use||Requires permission to use||The company sharing the data should have expressed consent|
|Level of Trust:||Trustworthy (harmless)||Somewhat trustworthy||Not trustworthy|
|Examples of Data Collected:||Personal data, like an email address||Information received from pages visited, like a social media profile||Information about the user from other parties, such as a job title|
What Are First-Party Cookies?
These cookies are developed by the website a user is visiting. First-party cookies are only accessible through that particular website, which is what makes them relatively harmless. They enable login credentials to be auto-populated on a website and they can also save user preferences.
What Are Second-Party Cookies?
Second-party cookies aren’t actually cookies. The term refers to data collected by one company that can be shared with another company it has a partnership with. Second-party cookies, or second-party data, can only be migrated from one company to another if a data partnership exists. As a result, the receiving company must be a qualified “trusted partner.”
According to Digiday, the complexities surrounding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are the main reason many businesses decide to put second-party data on the back burner. If a company’s data has been leaked in a manner that is not compliant with its policies, the GDPR can fine your business.
What Are Third-Party Cookies?
Third-party cookies are pieces of data that are created on domains different from the site a user is visiting. Once a website loads a third-party server code, these cookies become accessible.
According to Statista, 83 percent of businesses rely on third-party cookies to reach their desired audience.
First Party Cookies vs.Third-Party Cookies
First-party cookies and third-party cookies share many similarities, as well as differences. For starters, they both collect valuable user information that can help a business understand its users and how they behave.
While first-party data sets have generally been overlooked, third-party cookies have earned a reputation for being absolutely necessary. According to The Drum, 60 percent of daily activities are generally fueled by third-party cookies. But just because third-party cookies are used more often, doesn’t mean they are more trustworthy.
First-party cookies are considered “good cookies” because companies acquire this data directly from users and they have consent to use them. On the other hand, any business with an advertising strategy may also describe third-party cookies as “good cookies,” due to their ability to help a business advertise more efficiently. But in the eyes of the user, these types of cookies can be rather invasive.
How Do Cookies Impact the User Experience?
The user experience refers to the emotions users have when they interact with your website. According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), 88 percent of online users are less likely to return to a page due to a poor user experience. Different elements on the site, such as the user interface, navigation menus, and site security can contribute to whether or not a user will have a pleasant experience while visiting your website.
Google has made it easier for businesses to measure elements that are essential to the user experience of your webpage with the creation of Core Web Vitals. Core Web Vitals, also known as CWV, consist of three major benchmarks:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This metric can reveal how long it can take for images, CSS, and other relevant web page content to receive an interaction.
- First Input Delay (FID) – This metric measures from when a user interacts with a website, to when the web browser can respond with that interaction.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – This metric measures the visual stability of a website and how much it may shift unexpectedly.
According to Chromium Blog, websites that pass Google Core Web Vitals are 24 percent less likely to abandon a web page.
There’s a huge advantage to being a fly on the wall and collecting information about users that have visited your website, then leveraging what you have observed to appeal to them. That is the beauty of web tracking cookies. While second-party data and first-party data are here to stay, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the departure of third-party cookies.
Why Are Third-Party Cookies Going Away?
These days, online users are becoming less trustworthy of websites that collect their information and share it with other sites. In an effort to earn back the trust of its consumers, many web browsers have agreed to block third-party cookies.
According to a survey conducted by SparkPost, 74 percent of marketing leaders are concerned with impending privacy changes. Since Google Chrome holds the largest web browser market share in the world at 64.4 percent, the pressure is on for the company to pose alternatives that will allow businesses to target prospects using relevant data sets.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) predicts that very soon 86 percent of browser traffic will no longer be supported by third-party cookies. However, if your intention is to organically build trusting relationships and collect data from them in a way that is less disruptive and more user-friendly, you won’t be left completely cookie-less.
Benefits of Using First-Party Cookies
The death of the third-party cookie has inspired the rise of the first-party cookie. In a blog post from 2021, as Google said goodbye to third-party cookies, the company emphasized its continuous focus on first-party cookies to maintain first-party relationships. This has inspired businesses to look into how they can get the most out of first-party data and still respect new privacy policies.
Below are some of the ways that implementing a first-party cookie strategy can benefit the user experience on your website.
- Longer page sessions – The more engaged a user becomes with a website, the longer the page session can be. Poorly designed websites or sites that are not mobile compatible often suffer from lower engagement and high bounce rates.
- Improves Data Management – Since the data from first-party cookies come directly from the user, you can assure that it is accurate. This helps make communication with the user more effective.
- Establishes More Authentic User Relationships – First-party cookies help businesses establish better audience segmentation, which can result in a more effective reach.
- Easier Web Browsing Experience – First party-data stores information, like passwords and site preferences, so users don’t have to remember their password or tweak the settings to their preference. Also, once a user interacts with a cookie banner, these cookies can save the preferences, so you may not be asked to fill it out the next time you visit the website.
Building a New First-Party Data Strategy
Are you looking to develop a new marketing strategy built on first-party data? You’re not alone. According to MarketingDive, 88 percent of businesses say collecting first-party data will be a priority for them this year. In fact, many businesses are deciding to put first-party data first so they can build better relationships with prospects while leveraging data that is considered to be virtually harmless. In fact, every touchpoint a business has with an online user is an opportunity to get to know potential customers, while collecting valuable information that may come in handy in the long run.
Is your company looking for better ways to improve the user experience on its website? Put your hands in the cookie jar and start leveraging first-party data to your advantage today.
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