Firefox Browser is [Now] Blocking Google Analytics By Default

On the Mozilla Blog last week, Dave Camp, Senior Vice President of Firefox, announced that the browser he manages will now block known third-party cookies, including Google Analytics by default. While many analytics analysts, SEOs, and advertisers are obviously miffed on the idea, the sale from Camp is all about enhanced tracking protection from your online behavior (a.k.a. privacy).

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Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection

Firefox’s new tool that blocks cookies from collecting user data is called “Enhanced Tracking Protection.” The tool will block third-party tracking cookies from collecting anonymous user data. According to Mozilla, the user experience will not be affected. When users visit sites that use these tracking tools, a shield icon will appear in the address bar next to the URL, indicating that the user is now protected.

The “Enhanced Tracking Protection” tool has been implemented for users who have installed Firefox since the update was released. For everyone else, the tool will be gradually rolled out in the coming months. Users that want to activate this protection right away can go to the Privacy and Security page under the Menu. Content Blocking will be listed under Browser Privacy, and users can choose between Standard, Strict, and Custom settings. Allowing customers to customize their settings is great because it allows them to have more control over their experience online.

Enhanced Tracking Protection is among several tools and extensions that Firefox has developed to enhance user protection on the web. Among these tools is the Firefox Facebook Container, which is a browser extension that helps isolate web activity from Facebook.

Lastly, Firefox Monitor is a service that alerts users when their emails have been part of a data breach. The service includes a dashboard that allows users to monitor various email accounts, such as personal and work.

Mozilla Blocks Others, But Still Wants Your Data

While privacy and GDPR are all hot topics in 2019, I can’t help mention the ironic note that just below all the “default blocking” Mozilla’s own settings for their data collection is actually encouraging everyone to let Firefox collect data and send interaction data to Mozilla. Furthermore, Firefox has a passwords manager, similar to LastPass, that they want you to use.

For all the data collection they use, you can learn more here.

What Does This mean for Business?

The most notable update is the browser blocking Google Analytics and other related tools that track online and mobile traffic. As mentioned, the update is part of the company’s goal to keep users’ data private; however, we believe small business advertisers and site owners will see a drop in the organic traffic and retargeting audience list from paid ads.

At the time of writing this article, statcounter.com shows Firefox is the third most popular browser with 5.07 percent of worldwide market share. With Chrome and Safari browsers owning about 78 percent of the market we expect anticipate very minor impact; however, if you’re wondering why Google Analytics traffic looks down 5 percent in two months, this missing traffic could be a contributing factor.

How Will Enhanced Tracking Protection Affect Google Analytics

In addition to negatively affecting businesses and sites, this update may influence users, as well. According to Mozilla, some content may be blocked based on domains that use tracking tools and if the content is part of the page layout it may not render that piece.

firefox analytics trafficThis means your browser could potentially cause poor user experiences on the site by blocking text most people want to read. Of course, users can disable the tool that blocks Google Analytics and other third-party cookies, but this is another extra step that can lead to poor perceptions of the browser working as people would like.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Ann

    “This means your browser could potentially cause poor user experiences on the site by blocking text most people want to read. Of course, users can disable the tool that blocks Google Analytics and other third-party cookies, but this is another extra step that can lead to poor perceptions of the browser working as people would like.”

    Actually, blocking tracking cookies and all scripts that attempt to profile devices and users is good for users. Its also good you, online merchants, as the less information you have on your customers (beyond whats required for your business relationship) is more cause for an increased penalty when your site gets hacked. If you think the $5B Facebook settlement was large, wait for the next one. In actuality, they’re probably going to rewrite the rules after the Equifax settlement. According to my calculations, the next such breach is going to be penalized with around a $32T fine: that’ll be 20M for the class attorneys and $10k for every adult in the U.S. And we citizens will expect that every C-level manager and above will be held personally responsible. The CEO will forfeit his jet, the directors will forfeit their cars, every one of them will forfeit 2nd (or more) homes, all artwork, etc and they’ll also lose their retirement, especially if its held offshore. And finally, if they can’t raise the money, they’ll all have to start donating blood and plasma until the fine is paid in full.

  2. Kevin Pike

    Thanks for the comment. IMO, comparing Google Analytics and Facebook (or Equifax) is apple and oranges. The main difference is Google Analytics doesn’t give away people’s personal info. Equifax and Facebook know who you are because of the account profile you created. On the other hand, a piece of JavaScript (like Analytics) can only set a cookie that can really only monitor browser behavior.

  3. JV

    Good on Firefox. I can’t believe people think that our marketing, consumer, advertising society, is a good and laudable thing. We are physically destroying our world, while masses of consumers and corporations are completely ignoring the dire peril we’re in.

    I imagine only a small percentage of people will regard these words differently than the heresy the flat earthers felt at the notion of a round earth. Yet, the reality of these words is as significantly real as a round earth vs a flat one. The masses don’t realize the massive giveaway of their own and our total societal wealth that corporations and wealthy elite are harvesting from the general working populace.

    If the wealth generated in society were returned evenly back to everyone rather than the select few we would have a higher standard of living for more than 90 percent of the population while only 10% of the ultra rich would have to come down to earth. They wouldn’t even have to come unreasonably far. What’s unreasonable is to have billions of dollars, yet we have more billionaires than ever in history. The profiteers have us blaming it on the poor (and the immigrants, and our own shortcommings) while deflecting the truth of their theft of a far healthier society than we have.

    We are being stolen from on a massive scale, only it’s not entirely theft, the consuming masses are giving away their own health care, education, infrastructure, pensions, environment and the future of their children. All in the dubious idea that the rich work hard, that we wouldn’t have Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, gas, oil and cars without people being able to draw massive wealth, and that profiteers deserve the majority of societal wealth. It’s not only the profiteers running society and the environment to the ground, the masses support it by participating and allowing it. Meanwhile this whole site is devoted to the mass illusion that profit is good, consumption is good and privacy is an obstacle for success.

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