Purchase Path and Third Party Domain Code

The Hidden Obstacle in the Consumer Purchase Path: 3PC Cookies and Domain Calls

For digital retailers, revenue growth is dependent on an omnichannel strategy that offers a dynamic and cohesive user experience for customers at every touchpoint in the purchase journey. Within this strategy, the digital path to purchase is becoming increasingly more important. From image libraries to shopping cart technologies, tech-powered digital properties are the key for brands to deliver the online shopping experiences customers crave. Tailored interactions are the new norm for digital shoppers, and powering these rich customer experiences requires brands to rely heavily on code developed outside the purview of in-house teams.

While third-party code provides functionality and content, when left unmonitored, it could present risks and vulnerabilities that can be leveraged to disrupt the consumer purchase path. More specifically, third-party domain calls could be used to hinder a customers’ paths to purchase, impede website performance speed, or steal sensitive customer information. Likewise, third-party cookies from external domains can be dropped to collect data on a user’s web session.

Understanding Cookies and Third-Party Domain Calls

What are third-party cookies?

Third-party cookies are lines of text stored on your device that collect information about the web session of a user. As a user visits different sites, the same cookie learns more about the user. These third party code vendors that deliver the cookie onto a website, gather information about the user–from content accessed to information input–and use it to develop a user profile for future targeting.

What are third-party domain calls?

Third-party code/scripts embedded into a website call out to third-party domains to pull additional content for ads, analytics, widgets and other functionalities that make users experience more dynamic and interactive.

How can they harm digital revenue?

Unauthorized third-party cookies and third-party domain calls are affecting revenue. What’s more concerning is the issue remains practically invisible to retailers because third-party code executes on the client-side, it’s not part of the retailer’s code.

Moreover, the disparate channels who manage e-commerce sites often don’t realize how much third-party code makes up the consumer digital experience. Nor do they understand the extent to which it functions across an entire site.

Recent studies found an average of 1 to 14 cookies on the payment pages of major retailers. The same study found 95% of the domains on a payment page had nothing to do with payment processing. This lack of insight or control into client-side code execution poses risk, from data leakage and regulatory violations to security failures and breaches.


How much third-party code makes up the digital experience and what is its impact on customer experience?

Answering that question requires going beyond the firewall and scanning how code you don’t own or operate executes during your customers’ online shopping experiences. Client-side code execution allows broader visibility into the digital ecosystem and deeper insights into which code does what on consumers devices. An effective digital risk scan will pinpoint the exact amount of cookies dropped and the number of third-party domain calls made from your site. Likewise, you will be able to see if malicious third-party code has put your digital revenue at risk because of:

  1. Customer Journey Hijacking

    When customers are exposed to competing ads or offers before completing a purchase

  2. Data Leakage

    When customers’ preferences are leaked to competitors to steal sales

  3. Privacy Breaches

    When nefarious groups break into a website through third-party code to steal customer information

  4. Site Latency Issues

    When excessive calls to third-party domains, third-party ads, and third-party cookies result in poor site speed and functionality.

Gain Insight: What a Healthy Digital Ecosystem Looks Like

A large part of protecting your reputation and revenue revolves around digital security. You’ve dedicated significant funds and resources to build a sophisticated digital experience that customers trust. It’s imperative that trust isn’t broken because of digital security risks. This is why gaining insights into security issues, site performance, compliance, and other vendors in your digital ecosystem is critical.

By leveraging digital security solutions, brands have the power to rally teams and rebuild digital strategies that put them ahead of the curve and competition. A best in class e-commerce website will experience:

  • Less than 10% of new domains per month
  • Less than 10MB per average JavaScript download size
  • Less than 7% of third-party cookies with lifespans of 12 months or longer
  • Less than 0.5 seconds for average latency speed
  • One or less domain calls on payment pages

Start Today: Request a Free Digital Risk Scan

You’ve dedicated considerable resources to establishing a powerful e-commerce experience. Now it’s important digital security issues aren’t draining revenue. Comprehensive scanning by The Media Trust offers brands the digital tools to pinpoint issues that significantly affect customers and their bottom line. With a free, comprehensive digital risk scan, you can take advantage of proprietary scanning technology to pinpoint the code disrupting your customers’ experiences. More than 600 retailers rely on The Media Trust to protect their digital environment, their revenue and, most importantly, their brand. Request your digital risk scan today.