What are analytics experts looking to in 2020 with data and privacy?

Data: 2020 m. kovo 03 d.

Logan Gordon, Simo Ahava, Astrid Illum, Abby Matchett and Sayf Sharif share insights to help you gain executive buy-in about privacy policy issues this year.


What do the experts think?


This must begin with a huge thanks to the following smart folks who shared their time and talent with us as we, collectively, prepare for the upcoming year. One of the best things about web analytics and digital marketing communities is the perspective that we are all in it together. I would encourage you to follow these fearless leaders, contribute to the conversation with them, and don’t be afraid to reach out for guidance.


Logan Gordan


The changes aren’t over yet, and I would expect continual developments geared toward greater privacy and greater transparency for the foreseeable future.


My advice is to color inside the lines. Attempts to work around or even toe the line will find themselves having to reinvent their approach on a regular basis as new privacy protections take effect. Instead, privacy-first approaches will find themselves having to spend less effort to comply with the changing data landscape.


Simo Ahava


This is the time to build a solid and robust benchmark. Go through your data from the past two years and try to identify the rate of cookie loss. The longer the period of time you’re investigating the higher the cookie loss.


Similarly, if you’re not already doing so, implement an ad block detection system. The best way to do this is to run some client-side JavaScript that uses a namespace of a known tracker — name it e.g. “ads.js” — and then send hits to some custom data store you own (so not Google Analytics) if that file is blocked by the browser.


Then, segment your data by browser. Check especially the usage statistics for Firefox and Safari, as they are the most prominent tracking prevention browsers out there. Note that this isn’t an exact science. Especially Chromium-based browsers (Chrome, Edge, Brave) might make it difficult to distinguish one browser from the other.


Once you have a benchmark, you know the scope of the problem. You can apply these numbers to your analyses by introducing margins of error based on the cookie loss statistics and the amount of ad blocking in use. For example, if your data shows that 20% of all visitors to your site block Google Analytics, you can be less worried about the 10% of the discrepancy between transactions collected by GA vs. your backend.


Astrid Illum


I believe that the current quickening pace towards restrictions on storing and using data will continue – involving both tech providers and the judiciary. But local rulings will provide interpretations on application to specific cases pointing in different directions since there is a lack of understanding of the basic issues at stake in the technical underpinnings of modern websites. Rulings in some countries will point in one direction, and in another direction in another country. This will make the situation a difficult one to operate in for most companies.


While we are waiting for the ramifications of existing laws to unfold and while a deeper understanding of the basic issues at stake is not yet widely held by the people applying said laws – marketers have to adopt a dual strategy: First off keep to the strictest interpretation of the laws to mitigate risk and secondly work to create a language around use of data that showcases the major part of why sharing data is important: To improve our digital products. Current language lumps together all kinds of data collection in one big suspect pot – in large part due to specific types of tools, practices and methods that are unduly invasive or boundless. Marketers and their technical colleagues in analytics should work together to rescue all the valiant uses of data our modern world is built on.


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