Privacy is a hot topic at the moment. In the UK GDPR is coming into force in May (read more about this on my previous blog What is GDPR and how will it effect my Small Business) and people are aware of being spammed and that their personal data should be looked after.

But are you aware of how much you are being tracked online. I previously wrote a blog post about a Television series Hunted and your online security (in the UK, sorry NZ readers I’m sure it’s on Netflix or Lightbox somewhere) called Hunted where 10 ordinary people go on the run for 25 days and a team of expert hunters have to catch them. They used various technological tracking devices to capture them.

In this blog post I want to make you aware of online tracking being used for re-marketing, which allows business to understand the likes, dislikes and browsing activities of their potential customers. This is perfectly legal, data protection (and GDPR for UK readers) refers to the identification of the user not their likes, dislikes and browsing history.

I started this topic last year with a blog called The Facebook Pixel which specifically refers to Facebook’s remarketing. But to be more general what is happening online. Well we know Google has been tailoring their search terms to match our likes and dislikes for years check out this TED Talk on Filter Bubbles.

But as an online marketer I use some of these tools to allow our clients to understand what is happening on their websites. We are certainly not as insistent as some of the larger organisations who seem to bombard us with Facebook adverts or google adverts based on what we googled last week!

But understanding what is going on your website which can help to feedback to make it more user friendly is very important.

Google Analytics is a fantastic free piece of software, check out our previous blog 8 Ways That Google Analytics can improve your website. That feeds back to the website owner what pages people are visiting, where they came from and how long they spent, just this basic information can allow the owner to make decisions of what products to sell or articles to write. If you’d like to learn more about Google Analytics you can book a 1-2-1 or training session with us read the course specification here.

Have you heard that Facebook is recording your screen whilst you browse? You’ll start noticing it, when you pause to read the status of a person or page, you will notice over the next few days you get more updates from that person or page. But you didn’t click on anything, how do they know you read it? They are recording your screen.

Software like this is available to small business owners for Free. Hotjar allows website owners (sorry we can’t record facebook as we are not the owners) to records the screens of it’s users, up to 100 recordings per website for free. We have been using this with a lot of our clients to understand the hot spots. Not only does it provide video of the user it puts together a heat map of 1000 users and the most commonly clicked and paused areas. You can find out if anybody actually scrolls to the bottom, clicks on a link or reads articles.

We never thought this would be available to small business but this allows your website to be redesigned for the user based on clear data.

This is a topic that really interests me and I continue to find tools that can help to feedback information, so I will return to this topic in a blog post very soon.