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Why would people want to be tracked online?

And how do we convince people to let companies track them?

Do people want to be tracked online? Well, most of your activity online is tracked, stored and analysed by a system, somewhere. Meaning, the sites you visit, things you buy and the content you share with friends.

Critically, we see a lot of scaremongering from people who are sceptical about being tracked, but the truth is, it's not (all) for evil purposes. For example, it depends who's using it and where it's being stored.

Chiefly, there's the opinion that you just become a number in a system, but tracking your online behaviour actually serves as a means of getting to know you as an individual, so you can be communicated with how and where you like.

In fact, the UK has the most cookies in use out of all EU counties, but it's important to remember why they're in use.

Do people appreciate being tracked online?

Building a customer-centric experience is a goal for marketers in any industry. In fact, customers have shown to be more frustrated when companies don't tailor content toward their needs and interests. Meaning, personalised marketing is actually very important for happy businesses and customers.

Indeed, we looked at how critical personalisation is and noted some important statistics in a B2C setting:

Accenture say the majority of us (91%) will more likely engage with a brand that personalises our experience with relevant offers or content.

More, Epsilon found 80% of customers will buy a product or service from a brand that personalises their content.

Finally, SmarterHQ found that a huge 72% of 2019 consumers would only be interested in marketing messages that were specifically tailored to their interests.

Consumers want personalised experiences

Retail TouchPoints said over a third (36%) of people genuinely believe that a company should be offering personalised marketing approaches.

Here's where the data debunks the conspiracy… Firstly, SmarterHQ said 90% of consumers are happy to share data about their online behaviour if it meant they would get some benefit like convenience or discounts.

Secondly, Segment says 71% of people would go so far as to admit to being frustrated if their online experience is generic and impersonal.

So companies can't deny that there are people out there who not only agree with tracking but actively want to be to receive a tailored experience on their favourite sites. And marketing teams within these companies have to respond.

The Marketer's Perspective

More marketers are jumping in on the opportunity to get better at personalisation.

Firstly, Forrester said 89% of digital businesses are making an investment into personalisation.

Finally, 51% of marketing teams admit personalisation is currently their number one priority for communications (SmarterHQ).

Marketers need your data to give you what you want

Evergage say 55% of marketers aren't able to deliver these highly-tailored pieces of content that users are asking for because they don't have the right amount of data to develop and deliver it.

E-Marketer reports 63% of marketers saying these data-driven personalisation tactics are incredibly difficult to execute successfully compared to other online methods.

There are detrimental effects of not having your data to make appropriate personalisations. Not only do consumers expect it, but SmarterHQ adds that 63% of people purchasing a product or service online would consider cancelling their current purchase or not returning if their personalisation experience was poorly executed.

Not having the right data can leave customers with a bad taste in their mouths. SmarterHQ says 40% of people find it awkward or even creepy if marketing messages make wild assumptions about their interests or needs.

Delivering an accurate personalisation experience has a lot of benefits to customers and the brand. It forms relationships and maintains them for the long term. So, if people want to be tracked online, we can deliver a great service.

Better personalisation:

  • Increases visitor engagement

  • Improves their experience

  • Improves brand perception

  • Increases conversions

  • Enhances acquisitions

  • Raises brand loyalty

Convincing users to let companies track them online

A company is legally obligated to comply with data protection laws like GDPR. Convincing people to allow companies to track them lies in knowing the benefits of the personalisation, but also in the reassurance that their data is being handled properly.

The upshot of this is:

  • Data should only be collected and retained having gained informed consent

  • The uses to which that data is put should be subject to informed consent

  • Data should be held securely

  • It should only be shared subject to informed consent

  • Data policies should be easy to read and transparent

  • Only authorised people should have access to data

  • Data should only be made available to government authorities based on a court order or similar legal footing

How we do it

All our tracking is self-hosted. We don't use third parties so there's no chance of our data leaking.

We use open-source systems for our marketing. Matomo for analytics and Mautic for marketing automation and personalisation. You can read more about open source marketing automation tools, here.

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