Earlier this month, Firefox announced that their browser would begin to automatically block all website cookies. Although Firefox users have had the option to enable tracking blocking for a couple of years, this is the first time that new downloads of the browser will have the feature auto-enabled.
This is part of a growing trend among browser companies like Mozilla (Firefox), Google (Chrome), and Microsoft (Explorer) to introduce more pro-privacy features to persuade users to surf the web using their service.
You can point to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data-breaching scandal from last year as one catalyst for this shift.
Users are becoming increasingly aware of how their data is being used for digital marketing purposes and are therefore attracted to services that promise a greater level of privacy and protection.
Firefox’s Senior Vice President Dave Camp had this to say about their decision to provide their users with more protection:
We believe that in order to truly protect people, we need to establish a new standard that puts people’s privacy first. At Firefox, we have been working on setting this standard by offering privacy-related features, like Tracking Protection in Private Browsing, long before these issues were brought to light. With this new, increased awareness for privacy, we feel that the time is right for the next step in stronger online protections for everyone.
Although most internet users will welcome these changes, it could potentially make the lives of affiliate marketers more difficult.
That’s because tracking cookies play two significant roles in affiliate marketing:
- Tracking leads/potential leads
- Traffic source targeting
Historically, when browsers introduce new privacy measures it hasn’t had any significant negative impact on MaxBounty’s affiliates’ ability to track leads. Whether or not this specific change to Firefox will mean any different is something that will need to be monitored.
Where it’s more likely to cause some disarray is with traffic sources, especially ones that use re-targeting tools.
For instance, let’s say you’re an affiliate who uses native ads as your primary traffic source. You utilize a native ad network like Taboola or MGID to acquire that traffic through re-targeting. Since tracking cookies are what make re-targeting possible, having them auto-blocked by a popular browser like Firefox could potentially have a negative impact on your conversion rate.
This could also be only the beginning of a new era of increased privacy measures for browser users. If that’s true, affiliates and the industry as a whole will need to continue to find new ways to adapt to an ever-changing digital environment.
Time will tell whether that’s through new tracking/targeting or other solutions.
You can learn more about Firefox’s decision to implement this feature on their blog.