Browsers are implementing security measures to prevent tracking information from being embedded in URLs, reflecting the growing importance of online privacy. It was recently announced that Firefox, a top browser, will offer users the option to include tracking parameters when they copy URLs. There seems to be a rising trend toward eliminating URL tracking parameters, as this follows iOS 17’s prohibition of such tracking. Is it feasible that marketers will start blocking URL tracking parameters as a privacy measure? If so, what does this mean for their business? Come with me as I explore.
How Privacy-Driven Changes Are Gaining Steam
A growing number of browsers are making efforts to protect user privacy, and Firefox is no exception. The browser recently made an announcement about URL tracking parameters. Websites can no longer track users through referrer information in URLs thanks to new features introduced by all major browsers, including Google Chrome and its variants. When Chrome updated its method of sending referrer information when users clicked on links to other sites in 2020, this trend became very noticeable. Firefox and Safari both made changes to their referrer behavior that were similar to Chrome’s.
With only a 3% market share, Firefox’s implementation may not have much of an effect on its own. However, if other popular browsers follow suit, it could make a big difference. But smart marketers have already planned for future-proof solutions, like pixel-based tracking and attribution integrations, to lessen the impact of possible disruptions.
Url Parameter Effects
Measures implemented to safeguard user privacy have an impact on some tracking parameters. As an illustration, the private browsing mode in Safari already removes specific parameters from URLs, such as “fbclid.” Note that many websites rely on URL parameters for important features, such as search functionality and banking services, and that their complete removal would have this effect. Thereby, the complete removal of URL parameters is highly improbable.
Because of their emphasis on user segmentation rather than individual tracking, certain URL parameters, like UTM parameters, are anticipated to stay. There shouldn’t be any impact on UTM parameters when used properly. Companies like Apple should take additional measures to prevent marketers from using the remaining parameters for tracking purposes, but this raises concerns.
What the Future Holds for Marketers’ Privacy and Tracking
It is becoming more important for brands to take ownership of their first-party data collection as browsers tighten their grip on known trackers. Additionally, brands should not depend on session-based data but instead bring consent preferences down to the user level. Using this method, they can compensate their advertising partners for missing conversion data that isn’t related to browsers or devices.
It is evident that privacy will continue to be a major trend, considering the growing number of privacy laws globally. Without anticipating things to spiral out of control, marketers should keep an eye on browser developments. Marketers can adapt to the changing landscape while still protecting user privacy by using strategies that prioritize privacy and keeping up with browser updates.
See first source: Search Engine Journal
1. Why are browsers implementing security measures to prevent tracking information in URLs?
Browsers are taking these measures to enhance online privacy and protect users from being tracked through URL tracking parameters.
2. What recent announcement did Firefox make regarding tracking parameters?
Firefox announced that it will offer users the option to include tracking parameters when they copy URLs. This aligns with the growing trend of eliminating URL tracking parameters.
3. What other browsers have introduced changes to prevent URL tracking?
Major browsers, including Google Chrome and Safari, have made changes to prevent websites from tracking users through referrer information in URLs. These changes reflect a broader trend in the industry.
4. Will marketers start blocking URL tracking parameters as a privacy measure?
While it’s possible that some marketers may consider blocking URL tracking parameters for privacy reasons, many are already exploring alternative solutions like pixel-based tracking and attribution integrations to adapt to changing privacy measures.
5. What impact do these privacy measures have on tracking parameters?
Privacy measures may affect certain tracking parameters. For example, Safari’s private browsing mode already removes specific parameters like “fbclid.” However, the complete removal of all URL parameters is unlikely, as many websites rely on them for important features.
6. Will commonly used URL parameters like UTM parameters be affected by these changes?
Commonly used URL parameters like UTM parameters, which are used for user segmentation rather than individual tracking, are anticipated to remain unaffected when used properly.
7. How can brands adapt to the changing landscape of privacy and tracking?
Brands should take ownership of their first-party data collection, prioritize user consent preferences, and adapt to browser developments to protect user privacy while still effectively tracking and targeting their audience.
8. What should marketers do to prepare for the growing emphasis on privacy in online advertising?
Marketers should stay informed about privacy laws, prioritize privacy-centric strategies, and keep up with browser updates to ensure they can adapt to the evolving landscape while respecting user privacy.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Rubaitul Azad; Unsplash – Thank you!
Olivia is the Editor in Chief of Blog Herald.