Custom track domains are essential for data quality – here's why
By Webtrekk CTO Norman Wahnschaff
Data quality has never been more important. Granular, user-centric data is the only way to capitalize on the virtually unlimited access you have to your customers on different channels and devices.
At the same time, ensuring high quality data is increasingly complicated. Extensions like Adblock Plus – which has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times – were created primarily to block advertisements. Increasingly, however, they are blocking analytics.
And that's to say nothing of constantly evolving data regulations.
The good news: There is a way to guarantee optimal data quality and ensure compliance with European data privacy regulations – custom track domains.
Custom track domains let your analytics tool carry out tracking within your own domain. This way, data can be collected and processed even if an extension is being used to disrupt communication between a browser and the various retargeting and analytics tools on a website.
(This can all be a bit complicated. Here is a clearer, more exhaustive explanation.)
We’re excited about our new custom track domains for lots of reasons. Here are five.
1. Every demographic uses blockers – especially the most important one
Why does that matter? Well, first off, this age group has only scratched the surface in terms of how much digital content they will consume in their lifetimes. If they carry this behavior forward, we are looking at decades of ad blocking.
In addition, this age group accounts for more e-commerce spending than any other. So when analytics tools miss Millennial traffic, lots of conversions will get missed, too.
2. Budgets can’t be optimized with incomplete data
It’s not possible to allocate resources if the ROI on those resources is not clear. And if there is a bunch of missing traffic in your data – to say nothing of the missing conversions – there is simply no reliable way to optimize your budget.
And that doesn’t only affect campaigns. Which content generates the best engagement? Which landing pages drive conversion? Which products lead to purchases on related products?
Without complete data, it’s hard to feel completely confident about budget and resource allocation.
3. Low data quality means less effective personalization
Personalized content, messages and offers drive conversion and revenue.
That sort of personalization, however, is tricky without high-quality data. You can’t optimize for users you can’t see.
Data that doesn’t account for 15% or 25% of your visitors leaves you with sampled data. Moreover, it’s sampled data based on visitors who might not even reflect your actual target groups.
After all, people under 35 are more likely to use ad blockers and extensions. If 20% of total traffic is using blockers, that might be more like 40% of 18- to 35-year-olds.
4. Using a custom track domain protects your data by helping you avoid third-party tools
It’s better to collect data with a custom track domain than with third-party data collection tools.
First off, third-party tools often use your data to optimize shared cookie pools. They build profiles of your users across multiple domains, enabling your competitors to leverage a profile that was built, at least in part, with your data.
Second, EU regulations are going to make the use of third-party tools much more complicated. Regulations have already been passed – and will take effect in early 2018 – that require either an opt-in or “legitimate interest” from visitors before third-party tools can collect data.
A marketing mix that relies heavily on such tools might be heading toward big problems once the regulations go live.
5. Gain trust with your users
When you use a custom track domain, you are actively showing them that their data will stay within a domain that they chose to visit
This matters. Surveys show that internet users are concerned not just with the data that is being collected, but also with how that data is being used.
Ad blockers and other similar extensions are popular for a simple reason: Lots of internet users don’t want to be tracked by dozens of different tools.
If a user comes to your website, then they are consenting to a certain amount of tracking. This makes intuitive sense and has been reaffirmed repeatedly by European courts.
That said, users are not consenting to 10 or 20 or 30 different tools absorbing their data.
And in a time when shoppers, readers and browsers have infinite choices, showing that you care about your users’ data is a great way to distinguish your site.