Analysing Traffic by Tracking Visitors

Sites configuration and choice of domain will have impact on how and what data is collected.

In this chapter, we present a matrix of features and how their combination impacts the tracking performance.

Default settings with Wide Angle Analytics domain

Default set-up. Works out of the box.

Visitors uniqueness is determined by browser fingerprint. Each session will re-generate the fingerprint. This fingerprint will be further augmented by Wide Angle services and stored obfuscated. It will be dependent on the IP address and thus depend on user's location.

Susceptible to being blocked by AdBlockers because this approach uses a well-known domain which can be blocked.

Changes in a URL fragment are treated as a separate location and count as a page view.

Setting Value
Use tracking cookie
Propagate unique visitor ID
Support hash-based paths ✔️
Custom Domain

Balanced approach requiring advanced domain set-up.

Visitors uniqueness is determined by browser fingerprint. Each session will re-generate the fingerprint. This fingerprint will be further augmented by Wide Angle services and stored obfuscated. It will be dependent on the IP address and thus depend on user's location.

If the custom domain matches Same Site rule (it is a subdomain of the domain used by the site), it will not be blocked by most AdBlockers. Blocking extensions in Firefox can leverage CNAME uncloaking and detect such a tracker.

Changes in a URL fragment are treated as a separate location and count as a page view.

Setting Value
Use tracking cookie
Propagate unique visitor ID
Support hash-based paths ✔️
Custom Domain ✔️

Reliable and accurate if not blocked.

Tracking service will respond with a unique visitor ID if not provided in the request. The generated ID will be stored on the client in a browser cookie and used for subsequent tracking requests.

Tracking request can be blocked if browser is configured to block third-party cookies.

If the custom domain matches Same Site rule (it is a subdomain of the domain used by the site), it will not be blocked by most AdBlockers. Blocking extensions in Firefox can leverage CNAME uncloaking and detect such a tracker.

More advanced AdBlockers, looking for fingerprinting behaviour, will not detect this approach as the fingerprint is generated by the service.

Changes in a URL fragment are treated as a separate location and count as a page view.

Setting Value
Use tracking cookie ✔️
Propagate unique visitor ID ✔️
Support hash-based paths ✔️
Custom Domain ✔️

Aimed at visitors who are likely not to modify their browser settings.

Visitors uniqueness is determined by browser fingerprint and stored in the browser cookie. As it persisted on the client, it will be repeated even if user logs in from different location.

Susceptible to being blocked by AdBlockers because this approach uses well-known domain which can be blocked.

Tracking request can be blocked if browser is configured to block third-party cookies.

Changes in URL fragment are treated as separate location and count as a page view.

Setting Value
Use tracking cookie ✔️
Propagate unique visitor ID
Support hash-based paths ✔️
Custom Domain

Aimed at visitors who are likely not to modify their browser settings. Works even with older browsers.

Tracking service will respond with a unique visitor ID if not provided in the request. The generated ID will be stored on the client in a browser cookie and used for subsequent tracking requests.

Tracking request can be blocked if browser is configured to block third-party cookies.

Susceptible to being blocked by AdBlockers because this approach uses a well-known domain which can be blocked.

More advanced AdBlockers, looking for fingerprinting behaviour, will not detect this approach as the fingerprint is generated by the service.

Changes in a URL fragment are treated as a separate location and count as a page view.

Setting Value
Use tracking cookie ✔️
Propagate unique visitor ID ✔️
Support hash-based paths ✔️
Custom Domain