Marketers are facing a difficult task. People strive for personalization, with 92% of marketers agreeing that consumers expect a personalized experience. Whether that’s regarding content or ads, people want to feel a connection to a brand or business before supporting them. However, on the flip side, people also want to protect their privacy and don’t want to be tracked just so that marketers can curate personalized and targeted ads.
The growing concern for privacy means that many consumers are starting to clear cookies and use ad blocker and tracking blockers. This makes it difficult for marketers to collect the information to make their marketing campaigns more personalized. So how can marketers still get the information they need?
This article will look at how marketers can use digital fingerprinting to get the information they need for marketing purposes. We’ll also be looking at how much information can be gleaned from your IP address and browser user agents. Even if you hide your IP behind a proxy, such as a location-specific UK proxy, websites still receive some of your information. Click here to learn more about UK proxies and how they can hide your IP address.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the following topics on fingerprinting for marketing:
- What is digital fingerprinting?
- How can marketers use fingerprinting
Digital fingerprints are created by analyzing and storing different characteristics of the device connected to the internet. These can include IP address, location, device type, operating system used, etc. Combining these factors creates a unique identity (or fingerprint) that can be tracked across the web.
The following data is usually stored in a digital fingerprint:
- Language settings
- Device hardware
- Screen resolution
- Browser plugins and add-ons
- Color depth
- Operating system
- Time zone
- Browser version
- Browser extension
Whenever we access the internet, we immediately start broadcasting our details without even being aware of it. To communicate and use the internet effectively, our devices have to share certain information to ensure we see the content correctly. Here are a few ways to leave digital fingerprints without even realizing it.
Your IP address is a critical identifier used to communicate with web servers. Your IP address immediately shares critical information about your system with the webserver of the sites you try to access. Even if you were to hide your IP address behind proxies like UK proxies, these still have an IP associated with them and will still share some details with the webserver, which can be stored and used for fingerprinting. Even if the UK proxies change your IP to an address located in the UK, the web server will still store this IP address along with any system details shared by your browser.
Cookies are unique text files containing little bits of your data from a specific website stored on your device. Cookies serve various purposes. Originally they were used to increase the web loading speeds when revisiting a website. Now they’re being used to track users to give you more personalized website visits and ads.
Your browser user-agent string is another unique identifier attached to your chosen browser. Your browser sends your requests to the web server, which then sends back the website you requested. The user-agent is shared with the webserver to ensure they send back a website version optimized for your device. The user-agent is a string of information that includes your IP address, device, operating system, screen resolution, and more.
Digital marketers can use fingerprinting to track and analyze the results of an ad campaign’s performance. Fingerprinting can also identify, track and report on specific new visitors. By tracking a user’s fingerprint, marketers can get a glimpse into their browsing behavior, and curate targeted ad campaigns. Targeted ad campaigns have a higher success rate of reaching customers that would buy your products.
Digital fingerprinting is quickly growing into a tool that marketers can use to gain information on their website visitors to create targeted ad campaigns. While cookies are becoming unreliable since they can be blocked and deleted, digital fingerprints are much more challenging to erase since they aren’t stored on the user’s device but rather on a remote web server. With digital fingerprinting, smart marketers can get enough information without invasive tracking measures.