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Firefox 22; One Tough Cookie

1st March 2013 by Tara Brown | News & Events

Mozilla‘s recent announcement to release a new version of their browser, Firefox 22, has caused quite a stir in the advertising industry. The new version is said to block third party cookies by default, this could potentially create a hurdle for the online advertising world, jeopardising the way in which ads are targeted to the user. In addition it could also have an impact on the analytics industry, with Mozilla being one of the most popular browsers, blocking third party cookies by default will limit tracking user activity to anything, from applying for credit cards to online shopping.

First party cookies are primarily used within analytics, however third party cookies are needed when passing information over to a different domain Without having these cookies tracking will be lost. During a journey, once a new domain is established a whole new cookie is created and classed as a new visitor therefore resulting in the journey being terminated, even if the user hasn’t completed the journey. This is the way it will appear in the analytics platforms.

An example of this would be proceeding to a checkout of an application; it could be applying for a credit card or a life insurance quote, all of which will take you to a different domain, here the third party cookie is needed to carry this information of the journey over.

Cross domain tracking can allow access to useful information, in particular for ecommerce sites. For example, keywords that are associated with the items in the shopping cart, what landing pages most contribute to the sales completions, the duration of a visit, the time spent shopping for products, can all be important. If this is passing onto a different domain during the process of the journey this data will be lost therefore potentially creating meaningless data. With this in mind it poses the question, should ecommerce sites be worried?

For a few years Safari browsers have already been blocking third party cookies from computers and IOS, whereas Chrome and Internet Explorer allow all cookies to go through unless you manually change the settings.  For the Firefox 22 release, users will have to clear all browser cookies to fully benefit from this new policy. Will users clear out their old cookies and if they do should the analytics industry be worried?

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