GDPR ate the cookies on the news websites in Europe

The number of third-party cookies on European news sites has dropped by 22% since the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to an Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) study published this month.

The study of RISJ reveals significant shifts in the use of third-party content and cookies on over 200 news sites studied in April and July – before and after the introduction of GDPR – across seven EU countries: Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the UK.

UK news sites, which had the most cookies per page in April, had 45% fewer by July; German news sites exhibited the smallest change with 6% fewer cookies in July than in April.

Third-party cookies per page by country (April-July change in parenthesis)
Third-party cookies per page by country (April-July change in parenthesis)

News websites use cookies for social media, hosting, design optimization, content recommendation, audience measurement, and advertising / marketing.

Top cookies detected before GDPR

  1. Google (Alphabet) 97%
  2. Facebook 75%
  3. Amazon 59%
  4. Oath (Verizon) 57%
  5. AppNexus 56%
  6. Rubicon Project 56%
  7. Oracle 53%
  8. AdForm 53%
  9. comScore 51%
  10. WPP 50%

Top cookies detected after GDPR

  1. Google (Alphabet) 96%
  2. Facebook 70%
  3. Amazon 57%
  4. comScore 55%
  5. AppNexus 50%
  6. Oath (Verizon) 44%
  7. Rubicon Project 44%
  8. AdForm 39%
  9. The Trade Desk 37%
  10. Criteo 35%

Google, which was present on 97% of all the news sites covered in April, and 96% in July, hosts a variety of services, and was slightly affected in comparison with the other cookie owners.

Mainly usage of Google cookies are for advertising (DoubleClick 87% / Adsense 72%), but also for Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google APIs, YouTube and Google App Engine.