New research has revealed a significant dependency on third-party cookies across Australia’s top websites, with 81 of Australia’s top 100 most-visited sites setting cookies in a third-party context.
The study, which was conducted as a joint research project by DMPG, ObservePoint, and Similarweb, also revealed that the significant dependency on third-party cookies was broadly consistent across the Australian, US, and UK markets.
In Australia, advertising tech accounted for 87.7 per cent of third-party cookie domain counts. A further 6.9 per cent were used for measurement and personalisation, while 2.2 per cent were functional and related to live chat, social sharing buttons and web surveys. A small number of sites were found to have third-party cookie dependencies for necessary functions relating to login and payments.
In Australia, the average number of cookie domains per single site is 21, with 39 unique cookie names across the top sites. The maximum number of cookie domains counted on a single site was 84.
“While functional and necessary cookies only account for a relatively small proportion of all third-party cookies identified in Australia and the other markets, the potential for negative customer experiences is significant,” said James Wawne, managing director, DMPG. “It is important for companies to mitigate dependencies before browser support for third-party cookies is phased out of Google Chrome.
“The buzz surrounding third-party cookies has been growing since Google announced a move to phase out support in 2022, and while their most recent announcement has just extended this timeline to the end of 2023, companies need to act without delay,” said Wawne.
“The main takeaways from the research are clear. Companies need to start by acknowledging the risk and quantifying their exposure, then they need to dig into the details to understand the implications for each and every third-party cookie, before creating a roadmap to mitigate any dependencies.
“Organizations who put off, or worse, fail to mitigate their third-party cookie dependencies run the risk of reduced marketing efficiency and return on marketing investment, diminished measurement capability, and site functionality issues, which could negatively impact customer experience,” he said.
In order to conduct the research, Similarweb provided the rankings data for the top 200 domains for each region based on site traffic. Adult sites were removed from the rankings data, as were sites that blocked crawling tech. ObservePoint crawled each of the top 100 domains to uncover which cookies each site used. After extracting the data, ObservePoint and DMPG collaborated to categorize the cookies and analyse the data.
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