The online advertising landscape changes over time, and we are due for a dramatic change regarding the use of cookies soon. Cookies are data from a website that is stored within a web browser and can be retrieved later. They are small amounts of information that travel with a user. This information gathering on our online activities has sparked privacy concerns and, as a result, the upcoming death of a particular type of cookie: Third-party cookies. This article explores the upcoming phase-out of third-party cookies and discusses ways to target architects that do not cause privacy concerns.

What are First-Party and Thrid-Party Cookies?

Cookies have been around since 1992 when they were invented by Netscape. They were created so websites could remember user information and preferences and became an essential part of online advertising, but also gave rise to privacy concerns. We have collectively traded our privacy for access to free online content, but the tracking of users without permission has undermined trust and led to the eventual phase-out of third-party cookies.

First-party cookies are stored directly by the website or domain that is visited. Website owners use first-party cookies to collect data, remember settings, and perform other useful activities aimed at improving user experience. First-party cookie data can be accessed by the domain host, and these cookies do not track a user’s activity beyond the original site. Typical fist-party cookies include sign-on credentials, bounce rates, referring sites, session length, language settings, and items in a shopping cart. First-party data provides insight into visitors’ habits and allows companies to personalize the user experience. They allow website owners to understand their visitors and enhance their experience.

Third-party cookies also track user behavior but differ in several ways from first-party cookies. Third-party cookies track users across websites, and are not limited to the original website where the cookie originated. Data collected includes demographic information, behavior data such as browsing habits and social media interactions, and data about interests gathered from other content and sites. Who sets the cookie differs between first and third-party cookies. First-party cookies are set by the web server or publisher’s website, while third-party cookies can be set by a third-party server such as an advertising vendor. This is done by a code that is loaded onto the publisher's website. Additionally, access to the cookies differs since first-party cookies are available on the domain that created it, whereas a third-party cookie is available on any website that loads the third-party server’s code.

Since third-party cookies track users after they have left a site, they provide powerful data. This data collection is intrusive and controversial. Due to the issues that have come arisen around third-party cookies and privacy, third-party cookies are often blocked by default on some browsers. Because of this, reliance on third-party cookies has been waning for a while.

The Death of Third-Party Cookies

The phase-out of third-party cookies has been postponed twice so far by Google. As 2022 comes to a close, the plan is that by 2024, Google Chrome will phase out third-party cookies. This has already happened for Firefox and Safari. Chrome controls over 60% of the global web browsing market, so its action on third-party cookies has a greater impact than other browsers.

The loss of third-party cookies will make it harder for advertisers to track users and serve targeted ads. This has the potential to make a large impact on digital advertising. A loss in advertising revenue is likely to drive some content providers to move to paywalls or subscriptions.

Gaining Insight Without Cookies

Since we are moving away from gathering user data without consent, a clear alternative is to ask for consent. Zero-party data is data collected from users with their consent, and it can be valuable information. This information can be collected by surveys, polls, and quizzes or by tools that collect data, such as interactive calculators. Companies can offer incentives such as free shipping in exchange for personal data.

Advertisers relying on third-party cookies can partner with vendors who do not use third-party cookies. Since gathering extensive first-party data is not an efficient solution for many companies, partnering with targeted vendors that have insight into particular sectors can be an effective way to generate leads and sales.

Building and landscape product manufacturers need to get product information in front of actively specifying architects and designers. Platforms dedicated to serving architects and designers allow manufacturers to effectively target these users without intrusive cookies or data collection. offers a solution for landscape and building product manufacturers that need to have their products specified in projects.

Our online resource library for architects is dedicated to getting product information into the hands of active designers while providing valuable analytics to the manufacturer. We reach over 640,000 registered professionals and provide essential information about how users interact with manufacturers' products and information. These insights go far beyond what tracking cookies can provide in terms of valuable data on which products and file types are of the greatest interest to architects and designers. Talk to us today to see firsthand how we bring manufacturers’ products to the AEC community, and the incredible insights we offer our partnered manufacturers.

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