There are a lot of big benefits that can come from harvesting big data. It can drive innovation, grow economies, connect cultures, and direct outcomes for businesses and governments. According to an article in the Stanford Law Review, big data analysis can also protect individuals, such as when a large healthcare organization compared clinical and cost data to discover adverse cardiac effects of pain medication, leading to the drug’s removal from the market.
Yet, many consumers will say that tracking their personal data, such as their online or mobile habits, seems downright invasive. We all know the “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought” feature of online shopping, which compares your behavior to others like you. Yet, one billion people happily share their innermost thoughts and even their locations when they post on Facebook. Privacy remains, however, a hot button issue, no matter if companies are tracking you, or you’re providing the personal information.
Yet, you have to wonder…who’s watching me online right now?
Since Webtrends is in the analytics and online data collection business, we can say our customers are tracking the aggregate of activities in context of other visitor activities. Simply put, Webtrends works by using 1st and 3rd party cookies to help identify visitors that access a web site’s content. The Webtrends analysis engine will use the visitor ID contained in these cookies to stitch visits together, logically grouping data that contain a common visitor ID.
With both types of cookies enabled, the Webtrends analysis engine is capable, on a per account basis, of stitching together visits using data originating from different domains. This is commonly referred to as cross-domain tracking and allows the Webtrends administrator to track visits from multiple domains in their account as if they were originating from a single domain.
In a Webtrends post earlier this year on privacy, Paul Lawbaugh, Senior Program Manager, said one area where Webtrends stands out is that the data collected is not combined with other customer data for industry trends or any other such statistics, and Webtrends doesn’t even share user IDs across apps or devices.
With Webtrends, our customers’ customers remain anonymous, with personal identity protected.
In this way, businesses can offer more of the products and services their customers show an interest in, while ensuring privacy policies.