As you navigate to the Finnish Film Foundation’s website, you might notice that something is missing. Where is the cookie banner that usually pops up on every website? We revamped the analytics of the Finnish Film Foundation and decided to get rid of cookies. Read on to learn how cookieless tracking was implemented and what no cookies mean for analytics and digital marketing in practice.
The issue with cookies: partial data and a disrupted user experience
Cookies have been a topic of discussion lately, especially as EU regulations emphasizing privacy and data storage have become more strict. Because only a small number of users consent to cookies, analytics only shows a small sample of visitor data. In some cases, up to 80% of data can be lost. With limited data, focusing on the right things becomes challenging when developing a website.
Some companies have attempted to solve this problem by creating the most obtrusive cookie banner possible, aiming to generate as many cookie acceptances as possible. However, such cookie banners negatively impact user experience and still don’t guarantee that all users will consent to data collection. We’ve all experienced cookie banners that, at worst, completely block website navigation until the banner is clicked away. According to data protection authorities, refusing cookies should be as easy as accepting them. Unfortunately, not all websites adhere to this principle.
Cookies pose a headache for companies striving to improve their websites, but also for users whose browsing experiences are disrupted by cookie banners. Yet, few stop to think whether cookies are truly necessary on every website. Even without cookies, sufficient data can often be collected for effective website optimization.
The Finnish Film Foundation revamped its analytics and chose cookieless tracking
The Finnish Film Foundation has been our client since 2022 when we revamped the ses.fi website. We were responsible for the concept, user interface design, visual design, implementation, and quality assurance of the new service. The aim of the project was to create a professional and user-friendly platform where all information would be easily accessible to users, supporting the Film Foundation’s image as an expert in the industry. The project was successful, and the site received a lot of positive feedback. However, shortly after the renewal, Google announced the discontinuation of Universal Analytics. Universal Analytics had been a trusted tool for many, and its discontinuation also prompted the Finnish Film Foundation to move on to a different tool.
The Finnish Film Foundation decided to shift to anonymous tracking and the Piwik PRO analytics tool. Piwik PRO was chosen for its user-friendliness and versatile reporting features. The user experience of Piwik PRO is surprisingly similar to Google’s Universal Analytics, making the transition from Google to Piwik generally seamless. Budget constraints also influenced the choice – Piwik’s free Core version’s hit counts conveniently met the needs of the Finnish Film Foundation’s site.
Choosing anonymous tracking meant that the Finnish Film Foundation could eliminate the cookie banner entirely. Through anonymous analytics, the ses.fi site collects only anonymous usage data, without information that could be used to identify individual users.
The value of anonymous tracking
With anonymous tracking, we gain access to the following data:
- Traffic sources
- Events (custom events)
- Click heatmaps
Through anonymous tracking, we can determine where traffic originates from and how users navigate between pages. We can observe the frequency of various conversions and see which elements on the site are viewed and clicked. These insights are sufficient to understand how the site is functioning and how it should be further developed. The best part is that without the cookie banner, the site’s user experience is significantly improved.
We believe that anonymous data can provide enough information to develop and improve a website. Just as a skilled chef can create excellent dishes with a few basic ingredients, a good analyst can form insights from basic data. In many organizations, a large portion of collected data actually remains unanalyzed and unused. Collecting huge amounts of data doesn’t guarantee that it is effectively utilized to improve the website.
Of course, cookies are still necessary if you want to gather more precise marketing data, which helps profile users and segment them into various groups. However, we at Evermade would like to see more companies carefully consider the need for cookies. In a lot of cases, cookieless data might be enough.
Get in touch with us, and let’s find a fitting analytics solution for you – with or without cookies.
You can also check out our webinar where our CTO Jaakko and senior analyst Tatu discuss cookieless tracking (in Finnish).