Online data collection is turning into a battle between Google and Facebook, according to Evidon’s first Global Tracker Report, which found the two businesses had the most commonly used third party trackers across the web.
The top five most prolific trackers during the first quarter of 2012 were Google Analytics, Google AdSense, Facebook Social Plugins, Google +1 and Facebook Connect, according to the research which data from tracker alert tool Ghostery.
In fact, Google’s free analytics service was encountered on 70% of all unique domains, while the search giant’s +1 feature has risen above the use of Facebook Connect.
Evidon CEO Scott Meyer said, “This will have big implications for everyone in the market as these two companies will have dramatically more reach than anyone else. It will also mean that marketers buying third party data will more than likely do so through one of these platforms.”
He added, “It really underscores the importance of brands understanding and being in control of the data on their sites because if they’re not, their ability to access data effectively could be limited to a few platforms,” he added.
The report also highlighted that analytics and social tags are seen much more often and accessed more frequently than online paid for ad trackers.
The release of the report is also timely following Microsoft’s decision to set Do Not Track (DNT) as the default option for Internet Explorer 10 when it is launched.
Meyer added, “It’s still not totally clear whether these types of social and analytics tool with be exempt from the DNT default. It’s also unclear how these tools will be treated in other parts of Europe that will likely take a harder line than the UK in terms of requiring prior consent.”
Looking at the adoption of third party tracking elements on individual websites, it was found that the average per site was 4.7 with 81% of sites employing one to five trackers (pictured above).
Although the report takes a global look at tracking, Meyer said there was not a dramatic difference between the UK, the US and other developed markets.
However, the average time it takes for a page to be served was broken down by country, with pages in the UK loading faster at 507 milliseconds, compared to the US where it took 522 milliseconds (pictured above).