At the time of this post, 82.3% of desktop users and 73.08% of mobile users’ browsing behaviour is currently being tracked by Google, Microsoft and by a Chinese or data mining consortium for ad targeting.
Here is a look at the browsers (circled) on mobile & desktop collecting data (that we know of) for organisations that own them.
Note: Apple states it does not collect behavioural data for ad targeting but they are a part of the PRISM surveillance program which collects data from the servers of companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Skype and Apple.
Google, which controls at least half of the world’s internet advertising business, has announced plans to scrap third-party cookies by 2022. This just means they’ll be retiring use of third party cookies for tracking an targeting people with advertising. Keep an eye out for federated learning of cohorts, which Google claims will be 95% as effective as third-party cookies for serving ads relevant to interest.
Here are two articles about how this may be problematic:
- From the next web: Google plans to scrap third-party cookies by 2022 — here’s why it’s problematic ~ ... Google may be set to benefit by stifling competition … https://thenextweb.com/google/2021/03/09/google-scrap-third-party-cookies-why-problematic-syndication/
- From the fast company: Google’s anti-tracking move is good for privacy, and even better for Google ~ ... smaller ones will have a hard time competing without cookie data. https://www.fastcompany.com/90610781/google-third-party-cookies-tracking-advertising
What does this mean for the average user?
If you do not want your browsing behaviour monitored and sold to advertisers for ad targeting, take a look at these links for browsers that have been positively reviewed for respecting privacy:
- From restore privacy: Secure Browsers That Protect Your Privacy ~ great piece reviewing and researching the privacy practices of top browsers and companies that acquired them https://restoreprivacy.com/browser/secure/
- From privacy Australia: ~ goes into detail about which browsers to avoid, recommended browsers by platform and what to do if you still want to use Chrome https://privacyaustralia.net/best-secure-browser/
What does this mean for businesses?
It would be a good time to re-evaluate your paid, owned and earned model to see:
- how to update your owned experiences to better acquire customers and funnel them towards conversion
- how to track and measure behaviours indicative of areas of interest, depth of consideration, progress along conversion pathways and/or user segments
- how to develop your first-party data strategy with all the different customer data points you have / are collecting
First party data is a very power differentiator for companies looking to improve conversion, better serve customers and catapult themselves ahead in their market segment.
Behavioural data of customers + potential customers that a company owns will become their most valuable asset. It should be something that is embarked upon as soon as possible as it takes time to aggregate enough to properly analyze and learn from.