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Facebook Cookies: Explained 🍪


Cookies Cookies Cookies 🍪...


Facebook just announced the change to be able to switch between 1st party and 3rd party cookies. What does this mean for online advertisers?


First and foremost, from a technical standpoint there’s no intrinsic difference between first-party and third-party cookies. It all boils down to who created the cookie - every cookie has an owner – this is the domain defined in the cookie when created.


Let us give an example: First-party cookies are issued by a website that a user views directly. So if a user lands on a website – for example, NYTimes.com – then this site creates a cookie which is then saved on the user’s computer. Because the user was cookied by NYTimes on a NYTimes website, this is considered a First-Party cookie.


On the other hand, Third-Party cookies are not created by the website being visited, but rather by someone else. What does this mean in practice? Let’s say you’re visiting NYTimes.com, and the page has a Facebook Video embedded in it. In this case, Facebook will set a cookie which is then saved on your computer in which the advertiser can than retarget.


What’s happening here is that the website owner, NYTimes.com, embeds a piece of code and video provided by Facebook in their site. When the Facebook code is executed in the browser, or the video is loaded, Facebook will track the player and put data in cookies/pixels. As a result, the cookie is classified as a Third-Party cookie, because it’s created by a different domain than NYTimes.com.


Facebook has finally allowed the owner of the pixel to choose between 1st party and 3rd party tracking. The bottom line here is that Facebook is now increasing the reach of the pixel’s tracking capabilities. For months, Apple and other browsers like Firefox have been blocking 3rd party tracking, although 1st party tracking has been considered kosher.


In simple words: 

- Prior to the update in the scenario given above, if a user was on Firefox, Safari or any iOS device, your Facebook Pixel would not track the user who viewed the video, because the pixel is a 3rd party tag, which is blocked by these devices/browsers.

- After the update, as long as your tag is switched to 1st party, your pixel can now track on these sites! 


If you’re an advertiser that relies heavily on Audience Network placements or influencers/blogs/3rd parties to share your content, you will want to turn on 1st party tracking to extend your analytical reach. If you’re simply driving traffic to your site with feed ads and organic activity, you’re safe as-is.



Here at Adjust Media, we love new cookie flavors 🍪❣️

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