Third-party cookies have seen a slow demise since Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari. While Google announced that it will postpone the deprecation of third-party cookies until 2023, the past several months’ conversation around how ad tech will work without third-party cookies has surfaced terms such as “cookieless future” or “cookieless identity solutions.” This has created confusion, leading some to believe that all cookies are going away. We want to clarify this misconception: while third-party cookies are being deprecated, first-party cookies are not!

The important distinction between the two types of cookies 

First-party cookies are dropped by the domain (website) users visit directly. Third-party cookies are created by domains other than the one users are visiting directly. This table explains the difference between these two types of cookies: 

First-party cookiesThird-party cookies
Source / SetupCreated by JavaScript on the publisher’s domain or by the publisher’s own server. Stored directly under the domain (website) that the users visit.Created by regular HTTP requests (including images and JavaScript).
Stored under the third-party domain.
AccessibilityAccessible only on a single domain.Accessible on any sites that reference the third-party domain.
FunctionalityAllow website owners to provide a good user experience by collecting same-site analytics data, remembering language settings, and performing other useful functions. Allow advertising based on history from a single site.Allow website owners to collect cross-site and advanced analytics. Allow more relevant advertising based on history across multiple sites.
BrowsersSupported by all browsers. Can be blocked and / or deleted by users. Deleted when a user finishes an incognito session.Supported by some browsers, namely Google Chrome. Safari and Firefox block them. Browsers don’t load third-party cookies when users are in incognito mode.
FutureRemain the same.Being eliminated due to privacy concerns. Chrome will deprecate them in 2023, following cookie deprecation shifts by other major browsers, including Safari’s complete removal in 2020.

The unique value of Quantcast Measure 

We often get asked if the Quantcast Measure data set is future-proofed– i.e., if it will survive the demise of third-party cookies. Before we get to that, first let’s look at what makes Quantcast Measure so unique. 

Since 2006, Quantcast Measure has provided a free, cooperative audience measurement solution that allows publishers to securely share their first-party data, such that aggregate audience models can be built for each of them uniquely. Publisher data is protected by design, never repackaged or resold. It is contributed to a collective data set and is never separately reported on to anyone other than the publisher who contributed it. This massive data set, when processed by bespoke predictive models in AraTM, our AI and machine learning engine, provides publishers with detailed audience insights that are comparable to the walled gardens in terms of scale and diversity. Today, Quantcast Measure is deployed across 100M+ web and mobile destinations.

So, what is different about this data set and what makes it future-proofed?

Quantcast Measure uses first-party cookies for access to unique real-time data

Any publisher that chooses to use Quantcast Measure implements the Quantcast Measure tag on their website. This tag, which is a piece of JavaScript code, allows Quantcast to set first-party cookies when users visit the publisher website. Through these first-party cookies, Quantcast can access first-party, real-time data, and add that data to the collective data set. 

This kind of data is better for multiple reasons:

Real-time: Third-party data is often stale data that is weeks, even months old. Quantcast Measure deploys first-party cookies, which affords it access to live data. This allows Quantcast Platform to react to most recent events across the internet and provide real-time insights about audience behavior. 

Trustworthy: The source of third-party data is often unknown–someone collects it, classifies it, packages it, and then passes it on to one or more third parties. These third-party segments are prone to inaccurate labeling and loose classification. Since Quantcast works in partnership with the publishers to gather data via first-party cookies, the source of the data is known. Then Ara’s AI and machine learning capabilities classify it much more accurately and provide granular audience and content insights.

Future-proofed: Third-party data segments depend on third-party cookies. Quantcast Measure deploys first-party cookies, which, as mentioned earlier, are not being deprecated. So, the Quantcast Measure data set is future-proofed. Our approach to a world without third-party cookies is to combine this live data set with multiple other signals in order to continue providing unique audience insights.  

Quantcast Measure enables publishers to understand their audiences while protecting their first-party data–and that is why it is so widely used. It is with our publisher partners’ cooperation that Quantcast is able to deploy first-party cookies across 100M+ web and mobile destinations and directly access this first-party data. We consider it a huge privilege to be able to work with our publisher partners. We are committed to ensuring that their data is protected while empowering them with audience and content insights as well as monetization capabilities to grow their business. 

Future-proof your business with real-time data from first-party cookies

Although Google announced that it will postpone the deprecation of third-party cookies until 2023, the third-party cookie has been in decline for a long time, and today there’s a significant portion of the internet that requires alternatives to third-party cookies. First-party cookies, on the other hand, are here to stay, as they are quite fundamental to providing a good user experience on the internet. With a massive real-time data set accessed via first-party cookies built into the foundation of the Quantcast Platform, we are well-positioned to support our customers as they navigate changes in the industry, and we will continue providing effective audience intelligence and advertising solutions, now and well into the future.

Quantcast Measure is a free audience intelligence solution. Sign up here today! To see how unique, real-time data can deliver granular audience and content insights, request a demo of the Quantcast Platform here.