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Cookieless Tracking

Cookie-less Tracking in Usermaven

The digital landscape is evolving, and user privacy takes center stage. Traditional cookie-based tracking faces increasing scrutiny due to concerns about data collection and user control. This is where cookie-less tracking comes in as a powerful alternative, offering valuable insights while respecting user privacy.

Understanding cookie-less tracking

Cookie-less tracking, also known as anonymized tracking, is a method of understanding user behavior and delivering targeted advertising without relying on traditional cookies. Unlike cookie-based tracking, it respects user privacy by not storing identifiable data like personal information or browsing history.

Usermaven embraces this shift too. Through cookie-less tracking (strict mode), Usermaven leverages fingerprinting technology. This method creates a unique identifier for each visitor based on a combination of their user agent and IP address. Crucially, no personal information like names or browsing history is stored, ensuring user anonymity. Meanwhile, in cookie-based tracking (keep mode), Usermaven utilizes traditional cookie-based tracking for user identification.

How Usermaven implements cookie-less tracking

Instead of relying on cookies, Usermaven employs fingerprinting to identify visitors. This technology analyzes two key pieces of information:

  • User Agent: This string reveals the visitor's browser and operating system, like "Chrome on Windows 10."

  • IP Address: This numerical identifier pinpoints the general location of the visitor's device, like "city" or "country."

Usermaven combines these elements through a sophisticated hashing algorithm, generating a unique identifier for each visitor without storing any personal information like names or browsing history. This identifier allows Usermaven to track user behavior across sessions and pages while maintaining anonymity.

Accuracy and functionality

While fingerprinting can't match the pinpoint accuracy of cookies in every scenario, Usermaven's solution prioritizes core functionalities essential for website analytics. You can still access valuable insights like:

  • Location: Usermaven identifies the city and country of visitors, providing valuable demographic data.

  • Engagement: Page views and session tracking reveal how users navigate your website and understand their overall engagement.

  • Interactions: Click events and user actions on buttons, forms, and other elements paint a detailed picture of user behavior within your website.

However, it's important to acknowledge potential limitations. In situations where users share devices or have dynamic IP addresses, fingerprinting accuracy might be slightly lower compared to cookies. Additionally, some advanced features like user segmentation or attribution might require cookie-based tracking for optimal performance. Usermaven constantly innovates to expand functionalities within the cookie-less framework, but it's important to understand the current trade-offs.

Privacy compliance

Usermaven's cookie-less mode prioritizes user privacy and adheres to stringent regulations like GDPR and CCPA. This means:

  • No PII Storage: No personally identifiable information like names, emails, or browsing history is ever collected or stored.

  • IP Address Anonymization: Usermaven takes extra steps to protect user privacy, especially for EU/UK visitors:

  • Last Octets Masked: By masking the last octet of IP addresses for EU/UK visitors, their specific location remains hidden while still providing insights like city and country.

Additional benefits

While respecting user privacy is paramount, Usermaven's cookie-less tracking offers additional advantages:

  • Adblocker Bypass: Unlike cookie-based tracking, cookie-less tracking bypasses adblockers, providing a more comprehensive picture of your website traffic. This gives you valuable insights into user behavior even if they use adblocking software.

  • Reduced Reliance on Browser Settings: Even if users have disabled cookies in their browser settings, Usermaven's cookie-less tracking can still collect essential data. This ensures you don't miss out on valuable insights regardless of individual cookie preferences.

Enabling and choosing between tracking modes

Activating cookie-less tracking in Usermaven is straightforward! Simply add the data-privacy-policy="strict" attribute to your Usermaven tracking script. This tells Usermaven to switch from cookie-based tracking to fingerprinting, prioritizing user privacy without requiring any further configuration.

Usermaven offers both cookie-based and cookie-less tracking modes, catering to different needs. Cookie-based tracking offers slightly higher accuracy in certain scenarios and might be preferable for advanced features like user segmentation. However, it requires cookie consent management and raises privacy concerns. On the other hand, cookie-less tracking prioritizes user privacy and respects regulations like GDPR and CCPA. It bypasses adblockers and collects data even with disabled cookies, but accuracy might be slightly lower in specific situations. Ultimately, the optimal choice depends on your priorities.

GDPR compliance

Usermaven understands the importance of data privacy and thus adheres to strict regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and PECR. If you operate in the EU, displaying a cookie consent banner is mandatory, especially when using tools that track Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as Facebook ads pixel, Google ads Pixel, or any other tracking tool.

If privacy mode is off, collecting a cookie consent for residents of the EU and UK is recommended. Usermaven uses cookies solely for analytics, categorizing them as analytics (or functional) cookies. To enhance user control, consider implementing a switch on cookie_policy and ip_policy for users who haven't consented to cookies or IP address tracking. This approach respects user preferences and ensures compliance with regional privacy regulations.

Incase of Strict (Cookie-less) mode, there is no need for traditional cookie banners. Since no cookies are stored in this mode, users are exempt from cookie consent requirements. However, while consent banners aren't mandatory, we do recommend the display of one. This informs users about the tracking method and gives them the option to manage their preferences.