Will Scully-Power

Google set to launch browser plug to stop tracking users’ site behavioural data
March 23, 2010, 8:57 am
Filed under: #mktgcloud, Datarati, Web Analytics | Tags:

How many of you delete your cookies on a daily, weekly or monthly basis??

“As an enterprise-class web analytics solution, Google Analytics not only provides site owners with information on their website traffic and marketing effectiveness, it also does so with high regard for protecting user data privacy.”

“Over the past year, Google Analytics have been exploring ways to offer users more choice on how their data is collected by Google Analytics. We concluded that the best approach would be to develop a global browser based plug-in to allow users to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics. Our engineers are now hard at work finalising and testing this opt-out functionality. We look forward to make it globally available to our users in the coming weeks.”

Posted by Amy Chang, Group Product Manager, Google Analytics

Joesph Stanhope at Forrester writes:

Don’t panic.  It is highly doubtful that this will do substantial harm to Google Analytics and its customers. Why?

  • Actual opt outs will not deal a death blow to data gathering. Although some people will undoubtedly use the Opt Out plug-in, most will not. And even if the numbers drop a bit, the trending data will remain valuable and web analytics experts will learn to quantify and manage any resulting bias.  This may be analagous to cookie deletion and enabling javascript on browsers; web analytics has survived despite the fact these things can be easily deactivated because relatively few consumers actually take advantage of those options.
  • Good privacy management drives Google’s business and profits in the long term. Google Analytics adoption may actually increase in the wake of the Opt Out plug-in, particularly outside the United States.  This move shows good faith to regulators and sets the stage for Google Analytics to operate safely within the containts of more stringent privacy regulations in Europe, which may boost GA usage and ultimately drive more advertising revenue.  Again, GA operates within a larger context at Google, and they have to consider privacy and other regulatory concerns as a material risk to the business if they are not managed properly.
  • Opt-In consumers are (slightly) better customers. Many other offline and digital channels have adopted standards for preference management and survived. The marketing axiom has always been that opt out provisions make marketing more efficient and more relevant becuase you no longer waste resources on consumers who aren’t interested in your company or products.  This comparison won’t hold up 100% in the case of the web, because the marginal cost of serving additional visitors to a website approaches zero.  However, your site’s targeting was probably falling flat for the consumer who is inclined to opt out, so focusing your efforts on those who are willing to be measured may enhance the achievement of site goals.

It’s not the end of the world, but there will be an impact.

More: http://blogs.forrester.com/joseph_stanhope/10-03-18-google_announces_plans_offer_google_analytics_opt_out


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