When building and maintaining a high-performance website or web application your choice of third-party tools and integrations matters. The wrong choices can significantly degrade your site performance and the experience of your visitors.
In this article, we'll look at the most common third-party script of all: analytics. We'll also explore how moving to a privacy-friendly and cookieless solution like Squeaky could help your business by improving your user experience and your site performance too.
What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files that are stored on a user's device by a website or app. They can be used for a huge array of purposes, but commonly they're implemented for supporting things like:
- User authentication, authorisation, and session management.
- Personalisation or storage of website content and preferences.
- Capturing and sharing data within marketing tools and ad networks.
- Gathering analytical and statistical data.
- Facilitating social media sharing and integration.
Despite their ubiquity and usefulness, until recently, most web users didn't even know that cookies existed. Nowadays, that's changed, and most people will tell you they're not a fan of cookies - but why?
This use of third-party cookies to track users across domains is highly lucrative, with businesses and ad networks getting away with deploying them for years. However, legislation like the ePrivacy directive and GDPR, have finally caught up with them, ruling that consent must be granted for the use of any cookies that are not strictly necessary (which is the majority of cookies nowadays). This was a vital step toward protecting our right to privacy and it left many legacy tools scrambling.
At first, the only way many of these companies could stay in business, including the likes of Google Analytics, was by requesting user consent prior to deploying cookies to track and profile them online. The outcome: a deluge of cookie consent banners and pop-ups blighting our lives and degrading our experience across the web, so now we all resent them.
So, cookies are problematic from the perspective of privacy legislation, and they're annoying for users, but it's just a little interruption, does that really affect your business?
The business impact of cookie consent banners
The list of issues with cookies is long, but let's look specifically at some of the business impacts of the cookie banners and pop-ups themselves, including a few examples specifically relevant to your choice of analytics tooling:
- Cookie consent banners and pop-ups interrupt your user flow, disrupting and degrading the user experience on your site by appearing suddenly and blocking user activity. This can leave users in a negative frame of mind the moment they encounter your brand or business.
- Cookie consent requests can lower user engagement and visitor numbers, with many people choosing to quickly close a website if they feel overwhelmed or frustrated by the cookie banner.
- Cookie banners are invasive and make it clear that you're intending to identify users, even possibly linking to third-party data networks, compromising visitor privacy.
- Consumer awareness around data privacy is increasing and, as a result, up to 42% of web users reject cookie placement, meaning your legacy analytics tool will have huge gaps in their data.
- Additionally, in some instances using tools that automatically block or delete cookies can cause certain website features and functionality to break, affecting the overall user experience.
A cookieless solution for your analytics
Squeaky offers all the features and functionality you expect from a leading analytics platform, but thanks to our privacy-first approach it suffers from none of the drawbacks of cookie-based tracking.
User privacy is a core function of Squeaky, rather than an afterthought, and one of the benefits of taking this approach is that we've never used cookies or IP tracking. We've deliberately built our product to offer best-in-class analytics, without having to rely on legacy approaches that compromise your business's data integrity and the privacy of your users.
The benefits of going cookieless
Aside from Squeaky providing comprehensive data capture and analysis, there are direct business benefits from choosing a cookieless solution:
1. Higher data accuracy
With so many users now rejecting the placements of cookies, many traditional analytics tools face a significant data accuracy problem. Cookieless solutions bypass this issue, capturing accurate and comprehensive data, so you can make better-informed decisions.
2. Enhanced user experience
Removing the need for cookie consent banners will greatly improve the user experience on your site because visitors will no longer be interrupted by intrusive pop-ups. By taking visitors straight to your website content they will engage more positively with your brand and what your business has to offer.
3. Privacy Compliance
With growing concerns about online privacy and data protection regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), using cookie-less analytics can help support your compliance efforts and respects user privacy.
In today's world, having a high-performing site with an excellent user experience matters more than ever before, and a cookie-free, privacy-first solution like Squeaky can be your secret weapon, not the mention that staying ahead of a fast-changing regulatory landscape is crucial for businesses continuity and success.