What Does This Mean for Media Companies?

The Firefox 69 release further enhanced privacy features for the web browser. With the latest installation, consumer privacy will be protected by blocking third-party tracking software for all users by default. Firefox is calling this setting Enhanced Tracking Protection and though it has been available since October of last year, only around 20 percent of users had the protection enabled. That could be because users were unaware of the opportunity to opt-in to the feature. Regardless, now 100% of Firefox users will be operating within browsers that are blocking third-party tracking.

If your company relies on cookie tracking, there are some important details to note with this announcement:

This update isn’t affecting all third-party cookies

Firefox is not blocking all third-party cookies, but instead targeting a specific list of known web trackers that have practices that can be invasive for consumers. The list includes analytics companies, websites and advertisers that are trying to follow consumers’ journeys throughout the web to then target with personalized ads and messaging based off their viewing and behaviors. Firefox is concerned that blocking all third-party cookies by default could lead to usability issues because a lot of the web’s functionality relies on cookies.

Other web browsers have already been operating with similar features

Apple’s Safari browser has had even stricter rules for third-party cookie tracking implemented for the past few years, which goes along with the company’s commitment to protecting the privacy of their users.  Earlier in 2019 Google Chrome also updated its settings, allowing users to have the option of enabling stricter privacy settings and blocking for their browsing behaviors. In every industry today, the push for greater data privacy continues to rise (GDPR, CCPA, etc). Limiting third-party cookie tracking is one area that can immediately heighten consumer privacy and web browsers are taking action to position themselves in a better place for when federal legislation goes into effect.

First-party cookie tracking is not affected

First and third-party cookie tracking are very different mechanisms for following consumer web browsing. First-party cookies are created by the site that a visitor lands on and they gain consent to monitor web browsing whereas third-party tracking does not. Blocking third-party tracking can be advantageous for media companies who have been collecting and storing first-party audience data for years. These browser privacy changes will be a determent to programmatic advertising, which relies on third-party cookies and have been taking larger shares of the digital marketing advertising landscape for years. With more and more third-party tracking being blocked, advertisements on sites that utilize first-party cookies can increase in value.

Omeda’s web tracking cookies, Olytics, are first-party cookies that are tied to the domain of the site they are dropped on, so the behavior of thse cookies will not be blocked by default. If you have questions about third-party tracking being blocked, consumer privacy laws, or any other data concerns, please reach out to clientsuccess@omeda.com.


Photo by Pietro Jeng on Unsplash