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Cookie Explained for Beginners

Updated: May 23, 2023

Cookie Explained for Beginners

We've all seen the terms "Cookie Policy" and "Privacy Policy" appearing regularly on the websites and applications we use. These terms, along with "tracking" and "IP address," are now common even among non-techie users.

However, many people are unaware of what exactly these cookies are and why they are being used. And let's face it - even if we see fine print explaining how something like cookies is used, we tend to ignore it.

The purpose of this blog is to provide an overview of what cookies are, how they can be used for marketing, and why they are important to marketers and business owners.

What are cookies?

Cookies are an essential part of Internet navigation. They're pieces of information that websites install on your computer or device and allow you to stay logged in without having to constantly re-enter your password or save your cart items for next time.

They've also traditionally been of great importance in the advertising industry considering that digital marketing platforms rely upon data collection and their abilities to process this data into targeted campaigns.

However, with the advent of new solutions for front-end user tracking, advertisers are looking towards other ways to collect information about their viewers.

This is especially true after Google's decision to phase out its use of cookies. This means there are more questions right now than answers for how these emerging technologies will change the face of digital marketing.

Recently the use of cookies has been in the spotlight due to some legal complications surrounding the issue of privacy. Users feel that some websites may be involuntarily targeting advertisements based on data that they don’t know about or even explicitly allow to be collected. In addition, data privacy laws are keeping businesses of all sizes on their toes.

Types of Cookies

A first-party cookie is a type of HTTP cookie that is set by the server to which the user wants to connect. If a user visits a website, this type of cookie will store information about the user on that site as well as other sites where that same first-party site can be found.

The data collected using first-party cookies could be used for purposes such as calculating page views, sessions, and the number of users.

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are set by website publishers that use elements on their websites like chatbots and social plugins to make them more interactive and allow them to fit in with their own site.

They are used to remember user behavior based on previous visits. No personally identifiable information is collected in them, but every time you visit a website that uses cookies, your browser sends the cookie to the remote server of that website.

Zero Party

We’ve been talking about the types of data that pop up when it comes to raw statistics and analyzing them in various ways. However, lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about an emerging type of data called zero-party data, which is colloquially known as own-data or internal company data.

Zero-party data is confusing because it looks and acts like first-party data in many ways...

Zero-party data is data that a customer intentionally shares with a brand. This may include purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize him or her.

Are Cookies Good or Bad?

Cookies are not considered harmful for most people, but their safety depends on what kinds of cookies are being used and how they are being implemented.

When cookies are used for tracking, they can track you across the web and build a profile of your activity, such as which pages you visit, what sites you shop on, and what videos you watch.

They can then use this information to show you ads throughout other websites that are targeting similar interests to other ads it knows have worked well for other people based on their profiles. You've probably noticed this and suspected something's going on, and you're right - it's not just a coincidence!

For example, if someone goes onto one of their favorite news sites every day at 2 p.m. to read the latest articles, an ad network using tracking cookies might record his regular visits and decide to send him ads about news headlines every time he visits another site online.

How to Identify Cookies, Adzapier Cookie Scanner makes it easy to organize and manage which cookies apply to your website. This product has a very fast scanner that will capture all of the cookies you find on your website.

Once the scanning is complete, Cookie Scan organizes this information for you and highlights the cookies that need consenting at a glance. Then, for each visitor on your site, you can let Cookie Scanner, knows if they have given consent or not so they can have access to certain content based on their cookie preferences.


Adzapier Cookie Scan helps you uncover hidden cookies on your websites, giving you access to build the cookie roadmap for you! You'll be able to automatically detect cookies on any of your websites and have an easy way of viewing them in a simple dashboard. All data is stored in our consent preference management.

We hope you enjoyed today’s post. We know that cookies can be a hassle to manage, but with the right platform, you can stay compliant with global privacy laws.

We are always excited when one of our posts is able to provide useful information on a topic. If you have any questions or concerns about managing cookies, please contact our privacy experts to request a free consultation.

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