Once you jump onto the analytics-bandwagon, its tempting to begin to worry about accuracy. What if visitors delete their cookies? What if they don’t have Javascript turned on in the first place? Oh NO!!

Okay, okay… let’s calm down and take a look at the situation. Is it really worth all that worry and nail biting?

A lot of people think so, especially after Jupiter Research announced last month that 58 percent of users delete their cookies regularly, with 40 percent deleting them every month. That news definitely got people a little concerned, but it may not be as important as you think it is.

Brandt Dainow wrote a great article, “The Implications of Cookie Cutting” where he points out the following:

Let’s just stop for a minute and remember what Jupiter Research said — people are not cutting all cookies. Only 1 percent cut a cookie set by the site. People are cutting third-party cookies. If you set your own cookies, the inaccuracy introduced by cookie cutting is less than that produced by general cookie blocking.

So this is only a problem if you use analytics software running on another company’s website which sets a cookie through yours — a third-party cookie. Tracking repeat visitors by other means, acceptable for audit standards, turns out to be as accurate as third-party cookies. In some cases (such as the insurance site) it may actually be more accurate not to use persistent cookies.

The key fact from Jupiter is that people are deleting third party cookies. People don’t mind if a site they choose to visit sets a cookie. What they object to is companies they don’t know doing it without their knowledge, especially if that information is used to follow them around and snoop on them as they surf.

Whew! That’s a relief since Google Analytics only uses first party cookies.