There has been an ongoing conversation about user’s privacy. Especially around tracking users actions.

While it might feel wrong to track what the user is doing, there is no choice if you want to know if your ads are driving conversions.

A user clicks on your ad on Google, she is taking to your landing page, and then you fire a pixel, where you collect the ad id, and other information such as IP (from where you can infer the user’s country), browser, device.

With this information, you can know which ad is performing better, what device your audience prefer the most, all useful information to optimize your campaigns, to target the right users, under the right circumstances.

All of that, without the user knowing about it. That’s the problem. Browsers like Firefox are offering to block cross-site tracking (your pixel is sending data to a different domain than the user is) claiming to give the users a voice to decide.

Their point is: “users wouldn’t expect hundreds of vendors to follow them from store to store.” And yet we are followed by security cams the moment we step out of our house’s door.

I don’t think this will help. Unless a user knows about this option, most of them will stick with the default option, which is the same state as we are today. If turning the tracking off becomes the default (we might get there), then we as advertisers will be affected, and a multi-million industry will suffer.

What can we do then? I’m not sure. One thing that is obvious is tracking will be become harder and harder, and users privacy awareness will increase. Which shouldn’t be a big deal if you stay up to date with the tracking technologies and if you anonymize the users’ data: instead of storing IPs, just count how many hits you’ve got per country and get rid of the IPs. Store information at the group level, not user-level.

In this repository, you can find a pixel tracking I wrote many years ago: https://github.com/leocelis/pixel. Feel free to use in your projects, but clean up the events table, aggregate and anonymize the data. Respect your users’ privacy, by default.

leocelis

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