Device fingerprinting is a relatively new “cookie-less” activity capture method that tracks your device OS, screen dimensions, fonts, clock, browser version, and other info for marketing purposes.
Unlike cookies, fingerprinting data isn’t stored on users’ devices, which means that it cannot be deleted that simply.
Device fingerprinting looks quite controversial for many users, but is there actually anything to be aware of or is it the next-gen user activity tracking method with lots of benefits for business?
Let’s figure it out!
Many users are quite sceptical about device fingerprinting as it’s not as transparent as cookies, but it has actually originated from an anti-fraud identification method. It allows companies to authorize devices and detect fraudulent transactions and software piracy.
Today, the method is also used to identify persons by gathering their activity data from several devices. Users still can block this type of tracking with VPN services, but this occurs not as often as cookie blocking.
As for GDPR compliance, companies are allowed to use machine fingerprinting if their applications don’t interfere with the lawful bases.
What It Means for Online Marketing
Such a powerful form of user tacking lets marketers develop more efficient advertising strategies and reach a higher percentage of potential customers. While cookies can be easily blocked or deleted and many users do it, fingerprinting keeps tracking users all the time without threats to user privacy.
The effective uses of the collected data in 2021 include:
eCommerce fraud prevention – being able to identify devices by multiple non-blockable trackers, marketers can catch fraudulent orders and block them;
User tracking – machine fingerprinting allows companies to identify unique visitors more accurately;
Bypassing cookies – if a certain part of users block cookies on their devices, fingerprinting lets companies keep receiving the data needed for marketing campaign analytics;
Ad efficiency reporting – unlike cookies, device fingerprinting allows understanding the real conversion level of an online advertising campaign.
While these things are already very useful, the biggest benefit of the method is user identification. The virtual machine fingerprinting profile of each user includes enough unique data to identify a person behind one or multiple devices and retain this person in the system after initializing him or her as a customer.
If you are a marketer, you can already see lower costs of maintaining relationships with customers on a long-term basis.
Big Data Process
Although the process may seem technologically simple, it’s actually much more complex than cookies. Most devices receive regular updates or change owners one day, which requires data centres to enable ongoing cross-referencing for re-verification of previously added users.
This requires significant computational resources on the company’s side and enough bandwidth to swiftly move large arrays of data. As a result, small businesses cannot benefit from the method yet.
On the other hand, companies with medium resources can already rent frameworks to unload their own networks. The modernization of such services will make them much more affordable for smaller businesses, not more than in a couple of years.
A Cookie-less Monster?
In 2021, device fingerprinting is going to remain one of the most effective online behaviour tracking technologies. On the other hand, this year may introduce the new regulations that will equalize machine fingerprinting with cookies and oblige companies to request user permission every time they want to track data for marketing and other needs.
Fortunately, experts don’t predict the quick implementation of such regulations due to the overall complexity of the process. Most probably, it will take years for governments to introduce global changes, so it’s high time for your business to benefit!