1st Party Cookies

We kind of sort of already talked about cookies, in an earlier blog post. As we are always on the search for the best advice to our customers and we were thinking of bringing up this topic again with a little technical tracking blog post. I find it always very interesting when big tech companies and regulators put stringent rules to change the landscape but smart people find new ways to adapt.

A small repeat on what are cookies?

Cookies are small pieces of data stored on a user’s device by websites they visit. These files contain information about the user’s activity on the site, such as login credentials, browsing preferences, and shopping cart items.

In general these cover things such as Session Management, Personalization, Tracking and Advertising. While cookies can improve website functionality and enhance user experience, they also raise privacy concerns. Some users may prefer to disable cookies or use privacy-enhancing browser settings to control the data collected about them.

What are 1st Party Cookies?

First-party cookies, generated by the host domain of the website being browsed, are designed primarily to enhance the user experience during their visit. These cookies are perceived as a mutual agreement between the user and the website, aimed at improving functionality without raising significant privacy concerns. Unlike third-party cookies, which often have commercial purposes and can track users across multiple sites, first-party cookies are typically considered benign. They only collect limited information, such as data entered on the website and possibly the user’s IP address, and this information is solely accessible to the party operating the website being visited.

In essence, first-party cookies facilitate a smoother and more personalized browsing experience by retaining user preferences and session information within the context of the website being visited. They serve as a tool for the website to remember specific user interactions and configurations, contributing to a seamless interaction between the user and the site’s functionalities. While concerns about data privacy persist in the broader discussion of online tracking and data collection, first-party cookies generally operate within the bounds of user expectations and are crucial for optimizing website performance and customization without compromising user privacy.

How do I implement 1st Party Cookies?

Here is where it get technical and you have two options;

The DIY route, if you have the knowledge you can do this yourself. It very much depends on the technology your website is built on. In general Implementing first-party cookies typically involves using programming languages such as JavaScript and server-side technologies like PHP, Python, or others. Here’s an outline of how you can implement first-party cookies:

  • Set a Cookie: You can set a first-party cookie using JavaScript on the client-side or using server-side code before sending the response to the client
  • Retrieve a Cookie: You can retrieve first-party cookies using JavaScript on the client-side or by accessing request headers containing cookies on the server-side.
  • Use Cookies for Session Management or Personalization: Once you’ve set and retrieved cookies, you can use them to manage user sessions or personalize the user experience based on their preferences stored in the cookies.
  • Handle Cookie Consent: Depending on your jurisdiction and the nature of data being stored in the cookies, you may need to implement a cookie consent mechanism to comply with privacy regulations like GDPR. This typically involves displaying a cookie consent banner and obtaining user consent before setting any non-essential cookies.
  • Secure Cookie Handling: Ensure that sensitive information is not stored in cookies, especially if they are not encrypted.


Call for Help, is the easier root to get 1st Party Cookies. When briefing your developer about cookies for session management or personalization, it’s crucial to provide clear requirements and guidelines to ensure that the implementation aligns with your goals and respects user privacy. Here’s what you should discuss with your developer:

  • Purpose and Scope: Clearly articulate the purpose of using cookies for session management or personalization. Explain whether you intend to use cookies to maintain user sessions across pages or to personalize the user experience based on their preferences.
  • Data to be Stored: Specify what type of data will be stored in the cookies. For session management, this may include session identifiers or user authentication tokens. For personalization, it could involve user preferences, such as language settings or theme preferences.
  • Duration: Discuss the expiration time or duration for which the cookies will remain valid. For session management, cookies may expire when the user closes their browser or after a certain period of inactivity. For personalization, cookies may have a longer expiration time to remember user preferences across sessions.
  • Security Considerations: Emphasize the importance of securing the cookies, especially if they contain sensitive information or are used for authentication purposes. Discuss using secure flags like ‘HttpOnly’ and ‘Secure’ to protect the cookies from certain types of attacks.
  • Cookie Consent: If applicable, discuss the need for implementing a cookie consent mechanism to comply with privacy regulations like GDPR. Determine whether users will be required to provide explicit consent before cookies are set, especially for non-essential purposes like personalization.

Disclaimer and a Conclusion

While in theory this is a great way in terms of making use of cookies, being transparent to your customers about what data you collect, how you collect it and how you use it is the ethical thing to know. But it is great to know that as marketers we can gain control on our side other than giving the control to the tech giants.

What to continue the discussion? Contact us and lets have a chat