So Firefox is continuing down its privacy path with releasing more restrictions with its latest release of browser version 102. For those who use Firefox and would like more stringent privacy settings, that is now available and it will remove certain tracking parameters from the URL, which will cause the related tools to not be able to track associated link clicks and engagement. Before we go much further, let’s answer this question…
What is a parameter?
The parameter is the string that appears after the ? of a URL. It looks something like this:
(For this example, I clicked on one of Firefox’s paid search ads to capture the parameters that appear in the URL – oh the irony, lol.)
You can see all the letters/words after the ? are considered the parameter and that means something to both the analytics tracking system and the platforms that are generating the URL clicks.
Are all Firefox tracking parameters impacted?
From what we can tell so far, no. It appears from this is limited to just a few specific parameters including HubSpot, Facebook, Marketo, Olytics, Drip and Vero per this article from Bleeping Computer. Firefox in its release notes, only states that its mitigating query parameter tracking, but fails to give any more specifics. We are curious why Facebook’s Click ID is impacted and not Google’s GCLID, but we’ll back off on that for now. No need to wish more platforms be impacted.
Is the Firefox parameter tracking privacy update a big deal?
At first, not really. From reviewing the analytics of our clients, Firefox only represents about 1.5% of website traffic. Because this new security feature is something that has to be turned on, it will take a while to create adoption, if it does at all. To be super conservative, let’s say half of Firefox users turn this on (which is unlikely it’s that high), then only about .75% of your traffic could be impacted and cause an issue with tracking in some of your key platforms. So, from an immediate alarm – this isn’t that big of a deal, and its more of a “watch and see” thing… as is most of the privacy changes that we’re working on everyday. The thing, though, to watch out for, is the potential for this to become more widely adopted with other browsers. And if that happens, then we definitely have a greater issue on our hands.
So should we be doing anything now?
The first immediate action would be to check your amount of Firefox traffic. We highly suspect that you will find it to only be a small percentage of your traffic and not be a big deal. However, it’s always good to confirm for sure. Another recommendation in the meantime is to think about your parameter tracking and if there’s options for you to adjust to a more customized approach – just in the case that this becomes a bigger deal than it is now.
That’s all on this for now. We’ll continue to update as more information develops. As always, let us know if you have any questions about this topic or anything else related to your digital marketing program.