How to respect privacy and get rid of cookie consent banners
Privacy laws are causing a domino effect around the world, toppling the cookie-based tracking regime that once held supreme.
With cookieless tracking alternatives growing in popularity, the use of certain cookies has become harder to justify over time, and website owners are finding themselves at a disadvantage in more ways than one.
If you’re currently facing the challenges that come with cookie tracking, cookie consent banners and privacy concerns – you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how you can bravely enter a cookieless world.
Internet cookies are small pieces of data stored on your computer or mobile device that are used to identify and track visitors. They perform important functions on a website, such as remembering logins and preferences. Cookies can also help measure web traffic and usage patterns.
Cookies fall into two main categories:
- First-party cookies (aka session cookies)
- Third-party cookies (aka persistent cookies)
First-party cookies are set by the particular website you visit. These are stored by the website in temporary memory and deleted when you close your browser.
Not only do they help website owners improve user experience by tracking user activities, such as, remembering what you put in your shopping cart, they are also categorised as “strictly necessary cookies” under the GDPR (and are exempt from consent requirements).
In order to navigate a website and use all of its features and functionalities, strictly necessary cookies are required. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to log in to a website, or add items to a shopping cart.
Third-party cookies, on the other hand, remain on your device until their expiration date or until they’re manually deleted by you. These are harder to justify as they allow advertisers to track (stalk) users across the web, otherwise known as “cross-site tracking”. Google Analytics employs this tactic and collects personal and behavioural data which they use for their “own purposes” – selling ads.
This kind of tracking has been criticised for being intrusive as they track people’s online behaviour without their knowledge or consent. Due to privacy concerns, more people have started to disable third-party cookies which causes data accuracy issues for sites using tools like Google Analytics.
Do tracking cookies really require consent banners?
Absolutely yes. Data privacy laws like the GDPR are strict about the processing of personal data, and since third-party cookies can compromise a person’s online identity, you need explicit user consent in order to use them.
Disadvantages of cookie consent banners
It’s becoming clear that when it comes to cookie banners you lose more than you gain. Why?
This is because the majority of people will not opt-in to tracking. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) shared that their website traffic dropped by 90.8% after showing their visitors a cookie consent banner.
All this lost data means you could be making crucial business decisions based on inaccurate information.
Your website’s reputation is also at stake because you must use a consent screen to announce you’re using a tool like Google Analytics, which uses visitor data for their “own purposes”. Not a good look for your brand.
A previous GA user alerted us to a significant loss in business due to consent screens. They mentioned they lost about 5-10% of their visitors after having to show a consent screen with GA.
There are also strict requirements to adhere to when it comes to cookie consent banners, and if improperly set up, you are at risk of fines and damaging your reputation.
What is cookieless tracking?
Cookieless tracking is an alternative form of tracking that uses methods such as counting the number of unique IP addresses or browser fingerprinting to identify users (although, fingerprinting may not be as privacy-friendly as we believe) instead of cookies. This means that websites can still track users even if they have disabled cookies in their browsers or if the user has deleted all the cookies from their browser history.
At the most privacy-conscious end, we see cookieless solutions such as Matomo using config_id to group different actions into “visits” during a short window of up to 24-hours.
What are the benefits of cookieless tracking?
With more people withholding consent or outright blocking consent banners, data accuracy is becoming an issue for those who use cookie-based tracking. With cookieless tracking there is no data lost as you don’t need consent banners. This means you don’t need to second-guess decisions and can trust you’re seeing the full picture.
As personal data isn’t being collected, you can rest assured you’re doing the best to protect your website user’s privacy. This is a bonus for your website or business’ reputation as well as for privacy law compliance. Users can breathe easy knowing you’re respecting their rights.
No need to annoy visitors with cookie consent banners
The privacy-respecting aspect of cookieless tracking means you don’t need to worry about all the hassles and extra steps that come with compliant cookie banners.
As cookieless analytics solutions use alternative tracking methods that protect a user’s privacy, they’re easily configured to comply with strict privacy laws like the GDPR.
Get rid of GDPR consent screens and respect user privacy with cookieless analytics
As Google Analytics data becomes more inaccurate and unreliable, more people are turning to privacy-focused cookieless solutions, where data is not shared or sold to third-parties.
This explains the growing popularity of GDPR compliant web analytics like Matomo – the cookieless alternative to Google Analytics.
Trusted on over 1 million websites, Matomo’s privacy protection is so good that once configured, you’ll be able to track 100% of visitors without the clutter of a consent screen.
Thanks to Matomo’s use of industry-leading measures to protect user privacy, France’s data protection agency has confirmed that Matomo is exempt from tracking consent in France. Matomo’s users have peace of mind knowing they can uphold the GDPR and collect data without tracking consent.
Matomo doesn’t use fingerprinting to track visitors as it’s not considered as privacy-friendly as people think, and may be against GDPR regulations. Instead, it uses visitor config_id – a randomly-seeded, privacy-enabled, time-limited hash of a limited set of the visitor’s settings and attributes. The config_id or config hash is a string calculated for a visitor based on their operating system, browser, browser plugins, IP address and browser language.
Some advantages Matomo can give you as the cookieless alternative to Google Analytics:
- You get the most privacy-friendly industry-leading measure to protect users’ privacy.
- Data is stored on the server of the analytics tool – not the user’s device.
- 100% accurate web traffic data.
- Full GDPR compliance as data is kept safe and isn’t used for any purpose other than analytics.
With Matomo cookieless tracking, you can get rid of pesky cookie banners, confidently rely on all the data collected and protect user privacy.
Who would’ve thought a cookieless future could look so sweet?
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