Why Google Analytics Won’t Work on Firefox
In June, Mozilla released an update for its Mozilla Firefox browser that could cause some issues for marketers. This new update, according to an announcement from Mozilla, will automatically block third-party tracking cookies—including Google Analytics.
Yeah, I know.
Marketers in all industries thrive on analytics, so this move by Mozilla is a controversial one. What does it mean for marketers? Just how accurate is the initial panic?
The Way Cookies Crumble
Most casual internet users don’t have a complete understanding of the way cookies work (and no judgement if you don’t either.)
Unlike tasty treats in your kitchen, computer cookies are made up of information. When your users visit your site, your platform sends them a cookie. Their computer then stores that cookie in a web browser file. Every time that user revisits your site, the cookie your platform already sent will note that the user is on his or her second, third, or fourth visit, and then report that data back to you.
There are different types of computer cookies:
- First-party cookies can only be accessed by the domain that originally sent them to a user’s computer. These cookies can’t share a user’s information across multiple platforms, as a result.
- Third-party cookies collect data from all the sites a user visits. These are the types of cookies that Facebook uses to customize your feed.
Cookies, Meet the Mozilla Firefox Update
Firefox’s newest update automatically prevents its browser from accepting third-party cookies. How did this happen?
This paranoia has been around as long as the internet itself, but it’s heightened in the last few years thanks to several big-league online security breaches. In 2016, Yahoo accidentally compromised the names, DOBs, and telephone numbers of over 500 million users.
With the latest update, Mozilla hopes to set itself apart from Yahoo’s mistakes. By limiting website data collection, the company hopes to prevent its users from having to deal with similar panic.
Mozilla vs. Google Analytics
How badly will this impact your business?
It’s actually not as bad for your Google Analytics data as you would initially believe. Google Analytics utilizes both first-party and third-party cookies. As such, you won’t be missing any data that Firefox users’ cookies would normally send your way.
However, that information will only be specific to your small platform. Large-scale sites such as Facebook and Facebook Marketplace may have a bigger issue on their hands.
All this conversation about consumer privacy, though, reignites the debate about consumer privacy. Big Data does businesses like yours a lot of good and makes marketing significantly less tricky. But the way you use that data determines how you’re viewed in the eyes of your consumers. At the end of the day, are you a hero or a villain?
In the eyes of Mozilla: more and more of the internet is composed of villains.
Image attribution: Alex – stock.adobe.com