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Cloudflare Launches Privacy-First Analytics, To Use Visit Concept

American web-infrastructure and website-security company, Cloudflare has announced its launch of privacy-first analytics for everyone (users of Cloudflare and non-users).

The company in a press statement announcing the latest development said the analytics will not use “any client-side state, like cookies or localStorage, for the purposes of tracking users”.

“And we don’t “fingerprint” individuals via their IP address, User Agent string, or any other data for the purpose of displaying analytics. (We consider fingerprinting even more intrusive than cookies, because users have no way to opt-out”.

Analysing how the privacy-first analytics will function, Cloudflare elucidated; “We use the concept of a visit: a privacy-friendly measure of how people have interacted with your website.

“A visit is defined simply as a successful page view that has an HTTP referer that doesn’t match the hostname of the request.

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“This tells you how many times people came to your website and clicked around before navigating away, but doesn’t require tracking individuals”.

“A visit has slightly different semantics from a “unique”, and you should expect this number to differ from other analytics tools”.

What Cloudflare analytics can show

  • Top hostnames
  • URLs, countries
  • And other critical metrics like status codes

Offers Functionality to Track Cause of Traffic Changes

Cloudflare privacy-first analytics comes with two in-built features that offer users the ability to drag-to-zoom into a narrower time range, and the ability to “group by” different dimensions to see data in a different way. 

How Analytics Collect Data

There are two ways to collect web analytics data: at the edge (or on an origin server), or in the client using a JavaScript beacon.

Edge data are direct from the server while JavaScript beacon tracks usage via the user’s browser or any other application used in accessing the information on the server. 

Cloudflare uses edge data for its analytics. The advantage of this is that it would be able to track usage even when users have javascript disabled in their browser for instance. 

However, Javascript beacon analytics offer you information just as it is presented to your users. Such as how long they stayed on a page and where they moved next after leaving. 

To compensate, Cloudflare launched Browser Insights a year ago to augment its existing edge analytics with more performance information and incorporating Web Vitals metrics.

For people who are not familiar with the term web vitals, it is a metric Google is planning to roll out for its Search Engine Optimization. It measures the overall health of a website and how it performs in relation to users expectation. Simply put, it measures users experience using three main metrics: LCP, FID and CLS – Largest contentful paint, first input delay and cumulative layout shift.

How Website Owners Can Sign Up for Cloudflare Analytics

Existing Cloudflare customers can access it on their Analytics tab. There is a banner to opt-in to the new analytics experience.

Non-Cloudflare users will need to add Cloudflare analytics JavaScript to their site’s code to fire.

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