Article

Fiona Marcotullio
Fiona Marcotullio 6 January 2020

How Microsoft Edge's Tracking Prevention will affect SEO and PPC

For most digital marketers, Google Analytics and other monitoring tools are the Holy Grail. With the imminent launch of Microsoft Edge's new browser and its default Tracking Prevention feature threatening the future of traffic monitoring, how will SEO and PPC professionals really be affected?

If you’re worried about your data’s privacy online, then you aren’t alone. In fact, over 50% of internet users are concerned about their privacy and how much information can be collected through something as simple as web searches. This data is picked up by a number of trackers which are active across all browsers. Ultimately, with a massive increase in the number of targeted ads that we, as consumers are faced with each day, it is no surprise that personal data seems to be the real cost of browsing the web.

So, it must have come as a relief to internet users all over the world when Microsoft announced this year that a new version of the Edge browser will be released in January with a number of changes, including sync support, a brand new logo and the most important - Default Tracking Prevention. Don’t be surprised if this sounds familiar to you, as the technology itself isn’t that new and most modern browsers utilise the technology by giving the ability to block third-party cookies.

In their announcement, Microsoft said there will be three settings that users can choose from:

  • Basic - Blocks malicious trackers but allows those that display relevant ads.
  • Balanced -  Default setting which, according to Microsoft “blocks potential harmful trackers from site you haven’t visited” without affecting the functionality of sites you visit.
  • Strict - Block most trackers across all sites, even those you haven’t visited. It could also  cause some websites to behave differently to normal.

The Microsoft Edge team shared this table showing all the changes and tracking restrictions that will be in place based on the category selected by the user:

Tracking-prevention-changes.png

What does it mean for Digital Marketers?

T.R.O.U.B.L.E.

We can try and dress up a bad situation, but the reality for digital marketers and SEO or PPC professionals is a hindrance in their ability to deliver and monitor vital statistics that contribute to measuring the success of their work.

Despite this, there comes a sense of satisfying irony for these businesses, as the new browser is built on the same open source code as Chrome. This was developed by Google, who will actually be one of the worst hit victims of these tracking preventions.

Google has a number of vital marketing tools embedded on a large number of websites, including Analytics, Tag Manager and AdSense. With these trackers blocked, it will massively affect how we, as marketers monitor and track important statistics.

It will make revenue and ecommerce monitoring on Analytics inaccurate. The reporting of traffic and referrals will be skewed and users won’t get the full picture of how their site and campaigns are performing. Google Ads will also be hit hard and PPC professionals will no longer get accurate tracking and reporting of CPC and conversions.

While the new browser is still in beta testing, we can only speculate how the change will actually affect digital marketing professionals and agencies that have a dependence on the ability to track and measure data and various metrics. For now, we can try and adopt a positive frame of mind and consider how past tracking blocks have been overcome and hope that there will be ways to combat the new feature, to collect relevant information whilst maintaining the increased security of the user. 

If you’re after more information about how Tracking Prevention will affect your digital marketing business, contact the team at Colewood Internet. 

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