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As cookie rejection decreases, analytics tracking accuracy increases
A WebTrends service migrates its hosted analytics customers from third-party cookies to tracking by first-party cookies. Across customers who’ve implemenetd the solution, the accuracy of analytic data is up by 300%.
Retail continues to be the industry sector most affected by the rejection of third-party tracking cookies, with an average rejection rate of 16%, trailed by rejection rates of 15.4% in the health care and 13.8% in the automotive sectors, according to new data from WebTrends Inc. However, the 150-160 hosted analytics customers who have recently migrated to first-party cookies in a service provided by WebTrends are experiencing a more than 300% increase in tracking accuracy, the company says.
Third-party cookies typically are used to monitor customer behavior and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and web site enhancements. Third-party cookies are set on the user’s browser by a web site other than the one which a user is visiting. First-party cookies are served to the user’s browser directly from the domain of the web site the user is visiting.
The problems arise when a consumer refuses to accept third-party cookies. Consumers reject those cookies and that diminishes the ability of the third party that placed the cookie to track that consumer’s online behavior, resulting in a less than complete measure of how consumers navigate the web. Consumers reject third-party cookies out of spyware or pirvacy fears.
In the first quarterly update of a study on cookie deletion originally released by WebTrends two months ago, the company found among customers using its first-party cookie solutions – which migrates tracking from third-party to first-party cookies with no loss of historic data – the sites are tracking on average 10%-15% more unique visitors and 13%-30% more repeat visitors than the numbers they see using third-party cookies over the same time period. The analysis also showed an incremental impact on the number of visitors attributed to campaigns, with some sites tracking 10%-30% more visitors responding to specific campaigns.
WebTrends also found that average third-party cookie rejection rates are inching up, by 5.2% from April to June to an average rate of 13.2% across all industries. “Customer data show third-party cookie rejection has a dramatic impact on the ability to benchmark performance over time,” in addition to eroding retention-based metrics,” says Greg Drew, CEO of WebTrends, “We’ve taken a leadership role on the accuracy issue, and have seen rapid adoption of our first-party cookie solution.”