Drawbacks of using Cookies for Tracking Users (Visitors)

Drawbacks of using Cookies for Tracking Users. Deletion of cookies inflates user count

Exhibit 27.5   Deletion of cookies inflates user count (source: Lessons learned in Digital Advertising, comScore).

A common method of tracking “New” and “Repeat” users is via persistent cookies. This approach however suffers from numerous drawbacks.

Users periodically delete cookies. When they do so, there is no way of identifying them by their original ID. On return to the site, they are assigned a new ID, and counted as new users. . This, according to ComScore (Exhibit 27.5), can exaggerate user count by 2.5 to 3 times. The analytics firm estimates, in Asia Pacific, 30 to 40% of net users delete cookies, as often as 4 to 5 times per month.

Moreover, cookies only count devices, not people. If a user accesses a site from various devices, either owned or shared, they are counted multiple times, inflating the new user count and deflating the repeat user count.

Some users disable cookies although this is not a major concern since the proportion of users who disable cookies is small. Cookies can also become outdated.

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