Skip to content

Cross Domain Cookie Management: A Quick Guide

Paige Harris 3/5/24 1:28 PM

Table of Contents

In most situations, cookies stored in your web browser are accessible by, and only by, the domain where the cookie originated. A cookie created to log your shopping cart on Amazon, for example, cannot be accessed by Meta, Google, or any other company without explicit permission.

But outside of this paradigm exists exceptions, such as third-party cookies and the cross domain cookie in particular—a tricky aspect of compliance management that businesses should understand.


What Is a Cross Domain Cookie?

A cross domain cookie is a type of third-party cookie (also known as tracking cookies) that allows websites to monitor user activity across different domains. 

These are typically used when a company owns multiple website properties and wants to collect ongoing information about how a user interacts with their brand portfolio. The Meta Privacy Center describes this well:



Functionally, a cross domain cookie allows site owners to store cookie consent across domains, requiring opt-in through a single banner. Cookie preferences collected on site one will be applied to site two, making it easy to serve users consistent, optimized  experiences across domains. 


The Benefits of Cross Domain Cookies

Cross domain cookies are popular with site owners as they bring several noteworthy benefits to the table:


Single Sign-On (SSO)

Cross domain cookies allow users to sign in to one domain and get automatically signed in to related domains. This functionality reduces effort and saves users from the hassle of needing to sign in multiple times across web pages.


Consistent UX

Cross domain cookies allow websites to serve consistent experiences across domains by remembering settings and user preferences. By doing so, brands can ensure that users will always receive the on-site experience they’ve come to expect.


Compliance Ease

When companies share cross domain cookie consent among their related domains, consents collected on one domain are automatically applied to the others. Users will not have their browsing experience interrupted with multiple, redundant cookie banner requests. This also streamlines compliance on the website’s end by eliminating the need to serve multiple cookie banners across domains.

Tracking, Analytics, & Personalization

Cross domain cookies enable seamless information transfer across different domains. This makes it easier for marketers to organize information and create targeted, personalized content for advertising and marketing purposes. 


Managing Cross Domain Cookie Consent

Cross domain cookie consent comes with some unique restrictions. Under most privacy regulations, cross-domain cookie consent may apply if multiple domains share identical cookie configurations and the user consents to all cookies across these domains. However, it’s important to understand how each type of cookie is being used before trying to establish a cookie banner policy.

For example, we know that strictly necessary cookies relate to core website functionalities, such as user authentication or ensuring secure access to specific site areas. Amazon defines these cookies as “operational”:



Cross-domain consent is typically not permitted if one domain only uses strictly necessary cookies while another employs diverse third-party cookies.

Organizations must adopt proactive strategies, consent management platforms (CMPs) , best practices, and regulatory guidance to navigate the complexities of cross-domain cookie consent.


Cross Domain Cookie Compliance Concerns

Cross-domain cookie consent management can be complex and underscores a pivotal challenge in aligning tech  innovation with regulatory compliance: balancing user rights and privacy expectations.

Data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) require explicit consent for collecting and processing personal data across websites. When users navigate across different domains or interact with embedded content from third-party sources, it becomes harder to ensure consistent and informed cookie consent.

Websites must coordinate their cookie banners across domains to obtain explicit cross domain consent, respecting individual preferences regarding data collection, usage, and sharing. Of course, doing so requires businesses to understand cookie configurations unique to different devices, browsers, and compliance frameworks.

CMPs are built to help companies navigate stringent data protection regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and others. These platforms act as control towers for compliance, allowing companies to establish cross domain cookie consent and ensure that all user preferences for cookie privacy are respected.

For companies seeking a quick path to cookie compliance, this strategy alongside the support of a qualified compliance partner is the best way forward.


Enzuzo's consent management tool effortlessly tracks and stores cross-domain cookie preferences. Learn how it can help your company with a complimentary 1-1 strategy call 👇

Book a Free Demo


Paige Harris

Paige is the growth marketing lead at Enzuzo and host of The Living Lab podcast, providing insightful articles in the privacy space.