Tracking cookies are small text files websites save to your search browser. They send targeted ads to the websites you visit to coax you into making product purchases from advertisers whose sites you visited before.
Cookies contain data about a website user and their online browsing activity. For instance, when you visit a real estate site looking for property in New York, the cookie remembers your search. Therefore, when you log back to search for real estate, the recommended city will be “New York.”
What Information Do Tracking Cookies Collect?
Companies use tracking cookies to market products and services. They store a lot of information about you, such as:
- IP address
- Geographic location
- History of online purchases
- Website history
- Record of past product purchases
Websites collect cookies to make it easier for them to sell goods and services. Advertisers customize ads based on your location by collecting IP addresses and location data.
How Do Tracking Cookies Work?
Advertisers use tracking cookies to increase the rate of conversion. For instance, assume you are planning to start a new business. You might visit websites looking for suppliers, available lease spaces in your location, and ways to market your new business.
After leaving these sites to surf other news on the internet, you will notice ads related to your new businesses. The sites you visit save cookies on your browser and send targeted ads as you browse.
First-Party Cookies and Third-Party Cookies
First-party tracking cookies track the visitor’s browsing to remember user activity. Websites use the collected information to optimize user information whenever you go back to these sites.
On the other hand, third-party tracking cookies come from an external server using a piece of code on the website you visit. These cookies come from advertisers, data analysis sites, and other websites. They display ads, social media content, web analytics tools, and other tools within a website.
Are Tracking Cookies Dangerous?
Tracking cookies can be convenient when searching for something. For instance, when looking for a specific product, you might find an ad for whatever you seek. These suggestions and personalized ads are helpful.
However, you should be cautious about the kind of information these websites collect. Third parties collect user data without consent. The data includes personal and behavioral data like location, device information, search queries, and purchase history.
With tracking cookies, advertisers gather basic data without consent from users. This raises privacy concerns, with users objecting to tracking by third-party software.
How To Block Tracking Cookies
You can easily turn off cookies if you do not like them. Some sites allow you to turn off third-party cookies whenever you want to keep browsing data private.
You can also change browser settings to turn off third-party cookies automatically. The process differs depending on the browser you use. Here’s how to block tracking cookies on different browsers.
- Go to Mozilla Firefox
- Click on the hamburger icon at the top right of your browser and choose “Settings”
- Select “Privacy & Security”
- Go to “Enhanced Tracking Protection” and choose “Custom”
- Select “All cross-site cookies,” which will block cookie activity.
- Click on the three-dot lines at the top right of your screen and choose “Settings”
- Go to “Privacy and Security” on the menu
- Choose “Cookies and other site data”
- Go to “Block third-party cookies” and turn on
- Click the here-dot lines on your screen and go to “Settings”
- Select “Cookies and site permissions” on the left-hand side of the screen
- Go to “Manage and delete cookies and site data”
- Click on “Block third-party cookie” and turn on
Tracking cookies allow advertisers to track your website activity and customize ads. Cookies can improve your experience on a site. However, you must also be wary of advertisers selling the collected information. You can block tracking cookies on your browser to protect your online privacy.