What does the Facebook first-party cookie for pixel mean?

Facebook has faced much scrutiny this year regarding data around specifically user privacy. Facebook which creates around US$50 billion in revenue from advertising is not just about to let the petrol of its advertising supercar fall. The platform relies as a strength on allowing advertisers to re-target audiences and claims to do it better than anyone else. On October 24th, Facebook will be releasing first-party cookies for Facebook Pixel, an expansion of its current third-party cookies, so advertisers can continue to keep tracking user activity on native sites and retarget them with Facebook ads. Here is what you need to know:

What even is a cookie? And what is the difference between a first-party cookie and a third-party cookie?

Cookie (or ‘web cookie’): is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing. It is named a cookie, because it leaves crumbs around the internet, leaving a trace of where the user has been on their browser.

First Party Cookie: is a piece of code which is created by the actual user the site is on.

Third Party Cookie: is a piece of code which is available on a site, but created by a different entity. The Facebook Pixel, a code provided by Facebook, could be considered a third-party cookie.

The launch of Facebook’s first-party cookies means Facebook will now create cookies that pass data back to Facebook as long as the sites have established a first-party relationship. Facebook made this change after web browses like Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox and ad blocking prevented third-party cookies from being trackable.

Why is this happening?

Since Apple’s and Firefox have recently announced that they will be blocking third-party cookies where the domain of the cookie does not match the domain of the host site, Facebook has decided to roll out first-party cookies to fight this since they cannot be blocked. It’s a huge win for marketers and a quick roll out.

What is Facebook saying?

Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne emailed, “We are offering a first-party cookie option for the Facebook pixel to help businesses continue understanding site activity and ad attribution across browsers. This change is in line with updates made by other online platforms, as the use of first-party cookies for ads and analytics is becoming the preferred approach by some browsers. The controls people have over ads will not change.”

What do advertisers need to do?

The first-party cookies go live on Oct. 24. Prior to that date and after, advertisers can choose whether to have first-party or third-party cookies in their pixels by logging into their account and going to Facebook’s “Events Manager.” Under “Pixel and Cookie Settings,” advertisers can choose to turn off first-party cookies. Any new pixels will automatically include first-party cookies unless advertisers opt out.

Do marketers need first-party and third-party cookies?

Mostly, the answer will be yes, if they want to make the most of the complete set of data.

Marketers will want to adopt first-party cookies to cover all bases and ensure less disruption from third-party cookie blockers.

Advertisers should use both types of cookies if they want to keep making custom audiences on Facebook based off of the data they receive from a pixel as well if they want to better optimise dynamic ads.

If you’ve read to this point, you’re likely very interested in the above and should give us a call for a strategy session. Our number is (02) 8095 9342 (+61 2 8095 9342 if outside Australia), or message us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/attentionexperts. You can also book a meeting with us via our website at www.attentionexperts.com – I would be very happy to run through some of the above strategies with you in more detail.

Check out this great last article from us on how to create a social media contest.

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