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Is Google Analytics a third-party cookie?

first party cookies

Google Analytics primarily uses first-party cookies for tracking and collecting data about website usage. When you integrate Google Analytics with a website, it sets cookies on the domain of the website being visited. These cookies are used to distinguish unique users, remember the number and time of previous visits, track how long a user stays on the site, and understand how they have interacted with the website. Since these cookies are set by the website's domain and are used exclusively within the context of that domain, they are considered first-party cookies.

However, Google Analytics can interact with third-party cookies in certain contexts, especially when it comes to advertising features or tracking users across different domains:

  1. Advertising Features: Google Analytics offers advertising features such as remarketing, demographics, and interests reporting, which may rely on third-party cookies from the domain or other domains associated with Google's advertising services. When these features are enabled, Google Analytics can use third-party cookies to collect data about users' traffic on other websites that are part of the Google Display Network or those that use Google Ad Services.

  2. Cross-Domain Tracking: For websites that want to track user sessions across multiple domains (e.g., if a business has two related websites and wants to understand how users move between them), Google Analytics can be configured for cross-domain tracking. This setup may involve linking the cookies used by each domain, effectively treating them as third-party relative to each other, to maintain a consistent user session.

Despite these interactions, the core functionality of Google Analytics relies on first-party cookies. The distinction between first-party and third-party cookies is crucial in the context of privacy regulations and browser policies. Many modern browsers are restricting or blocking third-party cookies by default to enhance user privacy, but these restrictions typically do not affect the functionality of first-party cookies, including those used by Google Analytics for basic website analytics.


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