Third-Party Cookie

A Definition to a Common Term Related to Web Analytics

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Term: "Third-Party Cookie"


Third-party cookies are created and placed on a user's device by a domain that is different from the website the user is currently visiting. These cookies are commonly used by advertising networks to track users' browsing habits across multiple websites, enabling the delivery of targeted advertisements based on the user's previous online activities. When a user visits a website that includes content (such as ads, images, or tracking codes) from a third-party domain, that domain can set a cookie that gets stored on the user's device.

Unlike first-party cookies, which are set by the domain of the website the user is visiting and are generally considered more acceptable because they support essential website functionalities like user authentication and preferences, third-party cookies are often associated with privacy concerns. They enable extensive tracking of users' online behavior without direct consent or sometimes even the user's awareness.

Due to growing privacy concerns and regulations, major web browsers have been implementing restrictions on the use of third-party cookies, and some are phasing them out entirely. This shift is prompting the online advertising industry to explore alternative methods for tracking and targeting advertisements that are more privacy-centric.

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