For almost two decades, privacy legislation has been developed around the one website analytics tool that continues to provoke paranoia to this day and feed certain conspiracy theories which don’t even actually need it in order to arrive at the same end result. Of course, we are talking about persistent cookies. Up until now user tracking has never been easier.

However, in today’s continuously evolving technology, there is a new way in which you can track your user’s behavior, which is in some capacity a lot more efficient than the current use of cookies. And that is through user ID. Now of course this implies the implementation of an account system from the get-go. Therefore, as efficient as this tool is, it is completely useless if your website merely shares information and is created mostly to generate new leads. This is more of a refined tool that works perfectly for websites that have a combination of general information as well as specific user-oriented dealings, such as e-shops, message boards and showrooms.

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So how does this work?

1. The user ID system needs to be built around random unique client identifiers rather than personal email address. In this way the user is not required to use his email address because the login ID is attached to a certain identifier. Therefore, you need to make sure that your users do not use their personal identifiable information (PII) in their IDs.

2. Push the user ID to the data layer for your analytics software to read it. The name for this variable varies from analytics software to software, so you should check the element naming first before implementing the new tracking method.

3. Configure your analytics software to track users by their user ID. In addition, most analytics software still set a temporary cookie to keep track of user behavior before they login to your website and then will connect the sessions. This way you can still track the user’s behavior prior to logging in, as well as the behavior of users that never login but still visit your website.

Once all of this is done by your web developer, you can track your user’s behavior cross device, which is a huge improvement over cookies. You can see how your visitors interact with both your website and your mobile app and if their interaction comes from multiple devices, so that you can tune your website’s functionality, performance and usability on all devices. But the benefits don’t stop here as cookies are still a flawed tracking system. For example, cookies generate inflated unique user accounts and you might have an overblown perception of what the stats of your analytics truly is. As a result, an increased tracking accuracy generates efficiency in assisted conversions by increasing the quality of data. As an example, you can easily track users that for example browse your shop, add to card, leave, and then commit to a purchase later from their desktop. This way you now have a 100% conversion rate whereas before you had only a 50% conversion rate.

With this tool you can even go as far as enabling enhanced user insights by allowing your customers to have multiple logins for their account. This way the user ID represents a customer rather than a single user, and by operating in a B2B world and track both the user ID and the unique login ID within analytics, you can retrieve additional insights. This data can be then used for more focused marketing by understanding differences between different users that use your website in a certain way and then configure targeted emails that address only the specific interests of the individual customer.

By implementing this method of user tracking you can tune your website to not use certain cookies at all, while still remaining privacy compliant. However, you can still use persistent cookies and gather two different views on your customers, but just make sure that in case you do make a switch over to user ID tracking, your website will detect a huge increase in new visitor traffic as all users will initially be seen as first-time users.

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