Accurate Website Visitor Measurement Crippled by Cookie
Blocking and Deletion, JupiterResearch Finds
According to JupiterResearch's recently released report,
"Measuring Unique Visitors: Addressing the Dramatic Decline in the Accuracy
of Cookie-Based Measurement," in 2004 58% of online users have deleted
"cookies", which are small files often deposited on their computers by Web
sites they visit. Tracking cookies is a principal means Web site operators
use to track visitors, personalize their sites, and account for the
effectiveness of marketing campaigns and Web site enhancements. If users
delete cookies, accurate long-term measurement of consumer behavior on the
site is severely compromised. If users block cookies, accurate short-term
measurement is compromised, relegating increasing numbers of Web visitors to
The report found that as many as 39% of online users may
be deleting cookies from their primary computer monthly, undermining the
usefulness of cookie-based measurement and leaving many site operators
flying blind. "Given the number of sites and applications that depend
heavily on cookies for accuracy and functionality, the lack of this data
represents significant risk for many companies," says Eric T. Peterson,
Analyst at JupiterResearch. "Because personalization, tracking and targeting
solutions require cookies to identify Web visitors over multiple sessions,
the accuracy of these solutions has become highly suspect, especially over
longer periods of time," added Peterson.
Privacy and security concerns on the part of online users
are responsible for the cookie-deletion behavior that JupiterResearch has
found. According to a recent consumer survey cited in the report, 52% of
online users indicate a strong interest in stories and articles about
Internet security and privacy, while 38% of online users believe that
cookies are an invasion of their security and privacy online and 44% of
online users believe that deleting or blocking cookies will protect them.
The JupiterResearch report provides advice to site
operators for how to cope with the decline in accuracy of visitor
measurement and predicts that Web analytics vendors will adapt their tools
in the face of a consumer landscape that makes established measurement
The complete findings of this report are immediately
available to JupiterResearch clients online. For additional information
© Copyright 2005, Peter DeLegge Consulting/Marketing
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