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How Are Leads Tracked via First, Second and Third Party Cookies?

Even though cookies on the digital landscape have been around for some time, they are still something that stirs some debate and confusion. Most attention has been given to first and third-party cookies. Nevertheless, there are also second-party cookies that need to be given attention, particularly in terms of lead tracking. 

But first and foremost, what are cookies? For those of us who don’t know, cookies are small text files installed on users’ devices after they visit a website. The information contained here is accessed by servers on the visited site, making it possible to identify the users later on. 

As such, cookies are inherently harmless since they don’t contain any viruses, malware, or malicious software. The only issue that can be brought against them is in terms of user privacy. That said, there are many uses for cookies such as user privacy controls and settings, user profiling, analytics, verification, user mapping across platforms, session management in the form of logins or shopping carts, ads targeting, and, of course, tracking. 

Below is a breakdown between First, Second, and Third Party Cookies, as well as a short description of lead activity scoring. 

First-Party Cookies

First-party cookies are issued by a website every time a user views it directly. In other words, that website is that cookie’s owner and all information resulted from it is considered first-party data. This data includes things such as visitor behavior, action, interests, subscriptions, social data, etc. 

Since it comes straight from your audience and customers, first-party data is considered to be the most valuable. In addition, it’s also the most cost-effective since it’s available at no cost, and it’s relatively easy to collect and manage. Privacy concerns are also minimal since you know exactly where it originated. 

Even if your audience is relatively small, first-party data can offer valuable insights. You can analyze it for traits that your customers have in common, allowing you to build better customer personas

Second-Party Cookies

Second-party cookies, on the other hand, are transferred from one company to another via a partnership. As such, second-party cookies are nothing more than someone else’s first-party cookies, as well as the subsequent first-party data such as names, email addresses, etc. For example, an airline company could sell or share its first-party cookies with a partner hotel chain to use for ad targeting. Since this data comes from someone other than your audience, you can also use it to increase the scale of your data and reach out to new audiences.

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are created by domains other than the one users are visiting directly, such as advertisers. These are used for cross-site tracking, ad serving, and retargeting. Since these cookies are added to various pages and can track users across different sites they visit, third-party cookies are heavily used in advertising. 

That said, the user can block third-party cookies by either using an incognito mode on their browser, changing the cookie and tracking settings, or installing ad blockers. In addition, some 66% of mobile devices no longer accept cookies, while Apple devices with a Safari web browser block third-party cookies by default. All of these make the reliance on third-party cookies less than optimal.

What Is Lead Activity Scoring?

Regardless, you can use all of this information, be it from first, second, or third-party cookies to qualify your leads and determine when they’re sales-ready. In short, lead activity scoring determines how actively engaged a visitor is in working with your company. By establishing a scale of scores, you can define which activities contribute to this engagement. 

Known as implicit or behavioral scoring, this is a score that you assign to a prospect based on specific activities. Some activities may have a higher score than others. Filling out a form or attending a webinar will be more valuable than just visiting a couple of web pages.

As such, you can give a visitor, say, 2 points for every webpage they visit, 3 points for every email they open, 5 points for every click on a link inside the email, and 4 points to everyone who has viewed some media like a video. By comparison, you can assign 15 points to anyone who goes a step beyond and fills out a form, and 20 points to someone who is signing up for a webinar or actually attended the webinar.

If you want to learn more about how to utilize cookies and track your leads more effectively, feel free to contact us directly or subscribe to our newsletter.