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10 Ways to Cash In (+ Pros & Cons)

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10 Ways to Cash In (+ Pros & Cons)

Every other day, a new blogger claims they are earning a full-time income from their blog. But how exactly do they do it?

In this article, we will discuss 10 popular methods bloggers use to cash in on their passion, along with the pros and cons of each approach.

How much can you make from blogging?

Although many people claim to earn a full-time income, studies show only around 5%-8% of bloggers actually do. 

The monetization strategies you use and how successful you are at implementing them play a huge role in how much you can earn from blogging. If you don’t know the different methods to use, you’re not going to cash in.

I personally know content site owners earning six figures from their blogs, while some can earn even more.

In fact, globally known blogger Pete Cashmore (made Forbes’ 2014 30 under 30 list) has an estimated net worth of over $120 million. This is largely thanks to his website, Mashable, which he started in 2005 and sold in 2017 for $50 million.

How do blogs make money?

Some of the most profitable blogs make money through affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, advertisements, product sales, services, and more.

Each method requires careful planning and implementation to maximize your earning potential.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that success takes time; you’re not likely to see immediate results when launching a blog, even with the best monetizing strategies. It takes dedication and hard work before you start to reap financial rewards.

Now let’s dive into the 10 most popular ways blogs make money:

Advertising

Companies have always been willing to pay for advertising space. In the past, ads could be regularly seen on newspapers, magazines, and billboards. Today, it’s common to see display or banner ads on websites, which often rely on them as a source of income.

You can negotiate directly with a company or brand on a price you want and handle everything yourself. Or you can try an ad network like Google AdSense, Raptive, or Ezoic for a hands-off approach.

Either way, it works by placing ads on your website that are relevant to your content and niche. 

When visitors click on the ad, you will earn a commission from the advertiser.

Display ad example
Example of a display ad from the Mediavine ad network.

How much can you earn?

Typically, you earn between $0.01 and $0.25 per pageview. Of course, this depends on your niche and the ad network you work with. 

Pros

Ads are relatively easy to set up and manage. Especially with some of the bigger platforms like Mediavine, you can have someone who manages everything for you. Plus, there’s huge potential to earn money passively over time.

Cons

Firstly, ads can be intrusive and detract from user experience. We’ve all seen sites with badly optimized ads where you can’t read one line of text because the page is plastered with ads. 

Secondly, it’s difficult for people who are just getting started to earn a good income passively solely with ads. Remember that many ad networks, like Mediavine, have a minimum requirement to join, such as 50,000 monthly sessions.

Those that allow you to join without a minimum requirement, like Ezoic, require you to complete courses and set up and manage your own ads if your site gets fewer than 10,000 monthly visits. 

Unless you’re comfortable managing ads, you’re likely not going to get the most out of them without assistance from the advertising network.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a popular way for bloggers to monetize their websites. With affiliate programs, you can earn commissions when readers purchase products or services through affiliate links on your website. 

Creating a niche site that uses affiliate marketing as the main form of monetization is one of the quickest ways to earn a full-time income online. From personal experience, you can earn four figures a month within 12 months with a high-quality affiliate marketing site.

The truth is people love review content. For example, imagine you just got your first puppy. A super easy way to get what you need and feel confident as a new dog owner is to read in-depth reviews from other experienced dog owners.

Continuing with that example, a single page on the best dog food for 2023 can generate over thousands of monthly organic visits, ranking for hundreds of keywords. 

You can understand the demand for this type of blog when you look at the search volume of some keywords in the U.S. alone:

List of keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
Data via Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Plus, the entire first page on Google for “dog food” shows commercial search intent, with numerous reviews also showing up.

SERP overview for "dog food" shows keywords with commercial search intent, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

You can work with affiliate networks like Amazon Associates and Commission Junction or through private affiliate programs. 

How much can you earn? 

On average, affiliate networks offer lower commissions (between 1% and 10%), whereas private affiliate programs offer anything up to 90% affiliate commissions. 

Therefore, if you’re producing dozens of articles per month reviewing high-ticket items with an affiliate program that offers a 60% affiliate commission, you can earn a comfortable income. 

Pros

Affiliate marketing is easy to start, doesn’t require you to create and manage products or services, and can potentially bring in large commissions.

Cons

It requires a lot of work in the beginning (creating content, building relationships with affiliates, and so on) and can be difficult to scale over time if you don’t choose the right niche or have the right team in place.

Sponsored content

Social proof is one of the best ways to get people interested in your products. That’s why companies pay bloggers to write sponsored posts or create sponsored content in exchange for a fee.

Example of sponsored content

How much can you earn?

That will heavily depend on how much traffic your website gets, as well as how influential you are. But the average is anywhere between $25-$1,000 per post. 

Pros

This can be a great way to get paid for your content, with the potential to earn a large amount of money per post. It can also help you to build lasting relationships with brands.

Cons

It can be difficult to find sponsors, especially if you are not considered an “influencer” in your niche. It also requires lots of work (research, writing, promotion), and you must be careful to remain unbiased. 

Selling services

By producing content on a particular topic and gaining a sustainable readership, people will naturally associate your name with your topic of expertise. That way, you become an authoritative voice in your niche. 

Because of this, bloggers can use their websites to market and sell services such as consulting, coaching, digital marketing services, and so on.

Example of consulting services
Example of digital marketing blogger Neil Patel offering consulting services on his site.

How much can you earn?

It depends on the service you’re selling. But as an example, consulting gigs can earn anything between $60–$300 per hour.

Pros

It’s easy to start with (assuming you have an existing reputation) and needs very little upfront cost or work to get going. Plus, there is potential for high earnings from services that can also build long-term relationships with clients.

Cons

If you want to actually deliver a quality service, you need to put all your efforts into it, which may be difficult to maintain if you’re already running a blog full-time. If you can’t, you will be offering a subpar service, which won’t have clients returning for more. 

It’s also difficult to scale over time, as clients want to work with you, the expert, not an employee.

Selling physical and digital products

Many bloggers create and sell physical or digital products on their websites, such as ebooks, courses, merchandise, etc. 

Digital products are more scalable and don’t take as much work to put together. For example, with ebooks, you write the book one time, and then can sell thousands of copies year after year. 

Example of digital products for sale on a beauty blog
An example of digital products sold on the Hot Beauty Health blog.

How much can you earn?

Again, this depends on the products you’re selling. But it can be anything from $4 for a book to $50 for merchandise items like T-shirts.

Pros

There is huge potential for high passive earnings from sales of the products, and it is easy to scale.

Cons

Selling products requires a significant upfront investment in terms of creating the products. Even ebooks take significant time to write and edit, produce artwork, and so on. 

With physical products, there is the additional work of setting up the management of product sales to ensure products are manufactured and shipped without any problems.

Online courses

Online courses are a great way for bloggers to monetize their websites. 

As a topic expert, you can create an online course related to your niche and sell it on your website.

There are even instances of people with successful personal blogs selling courses on “blogging tips” or “how to make money from affiliate marketing.” 

Example of a blog course
Example of courses available on the Authority Hacker blog.

How much can you earn?

On average, courses sell between $400 and $1,000 per sale. But of course, it depends on the niche and how much of a following you have.

Pros

There is a potential for high earnings from sales of a course, and it’s easy to scale with additional courses.

Cons

Courses require a significant time investment (creating the course content), require marketing efforts to find customers, and can be difficult to compete against larger businesses with more resources.

Coaching and mentoring

Bloggers can easily pick up a cult following of aspiring bloggers who want to be just like them. With expertise in your niche, you can offer one-on-one coaching or mentoring services to help others learn. 

As someone who has mentored many times, I can say from experience that it can be rewarding.

Coaching and mentoring example
Example of Women In Tech SEO’s mentoring program.

How much can you earn?

That depends on how well-established you are, but you can earn $50–$150 per hour on average.

Pros

Not only can you earn a solid income from coaching, but it can also be extremely rewarding to see former mentees build and develop their own successful careers.

Cons

It requires a lot of work to deliver the service and build and maintain relationships, and you must be careful to remain unbiased and ethical when providing advice.

Public speaking

Bloggers with expertise in their niche can share their knowledge and experiences through public speaking engagements. This can be at industry workshops, seminars, and conferences. 

Write-up explaining what to expect from an SEO speaker
Example of SEO public speaking from Craig Campbell.

How much can you earn?

You can earn anything from $500–$10,000 per event, depending on how high-profile you are. 

Pros

There is potential for high earnings from speaking fees, and it is easy to scale with additional engagements. Plus, it requires minimal upfront investment.

Cons

You have to be comfortable speaking and often presenting in front of large audiences. You also need to be a naturally confident and competent speaker. 

Premium communities

Many bloggers create premium online communities and charge a fee for access. This can be for exclusive content, mastermind sessions, or networking with industry leaders. 

Example of a premium community
Example from premium SEO community Traffic Think Tank.

Private communities work by offering monthly or annual memberships to allow access to exclusive content.

How much can you earn?

These communities can earn anywhere between $50 and $150 per monthly subscription.

Pros

Great potential for high earnings from membership fees, and it is easy to scale with additional members. Plus, you can build relationships with members.

Cons

It requires a lot of work to create and manage the community, and it can be difficult to find members if you’re just starting out.

Blog flipping

Buying and selling blogs is one of the most profitable ways to earn income online.

If you know what you are doing, you can buy a beginner blog with decent traffic relatively cheaply, make some improvements, and sell it for a profit—much like flipping a house.

You can buy or sell a site privately. Or you can do it through a broker’s website or marketplaces like Flippa, Investors Club, or Empire Flippers

Example of blogs for sale on a marketplace
An example of blogs for sale on Investors Club.

How much can you earn?

Content sites usually sell for anything between a 20–40x multiplier. So if your site is earning a monthly profit of $1,000 per month, it could sell for anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000. 

A successful blog can sell for around six figures. In fact, according to Empire Flippers, the average price of a content site is $101,400.

Pros

There’s a huge potential to cash in by selling your blog. Plus, it gives you additional capital to buy blogs that you can sell later for a profit. 

Cons

It requires a lot of work to research potential blog opportunities, buy existing blogs, and manage them. Also, it can be difficult to find buyers or sellers, depending on the niche.

Top tips to make your blog a success

Now you know how blogs make money, you need to think about how you can make your blog a success and utilize those monetization methods to cash in as much as possible!

As someone who has built, managed, and sold multiple content sites, here are some of my top tips for success. 

Choose a profitable niche

Choosing a niche that has the best earning potential is a crucial first step in the journey to becoming a professional blogger. Especially if you want to use affiliate marketing to monetize your blog, a niche with high-ticket items is a must. 

Many profitable blog niches are highly competitive, like lifestyle blogs and mom blogs—but don’t let that scare you off. Choosing a competitive niche gives you more opportunity to do competitor analysis and suss out what works and what doesn’t, giving you a blueprint to work from.

Keep it unique

With more than 600 million blogs out of 1.9 billion websites in the world and over 6 million blog posts published daily, you need something to set you apart from the competition.

Example of a unique blog angle
Example of an article on pet funeral planning from a blog about pet memorials.

There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from a competitor who is absolutely killing it. But think of a unique way to go above and beyond to offer something better than what’s on the web. Here are some ideas on what you can do:

  • Write from your personal experience – If you want to start a pregnancy blog, talk about things you wish someone had shared with you when you were pregnant.
  • Offer more thorough knowledge than others – For example, go above and beyond with product reviews, such as including an unboxing and review video. 
  • Use custom visuals – Most people skim content. Infographics, videos, and original images can help catch readers’ attention. 
  • Fill gaps in the market – Maybe you love alpacas, but there just aren’t enough dedicated blogs out there. That could be your goldmine idea right there.

But an important note: It also needs to be of high quality! Being different isn’t enough. Blog posts that are expertly written with actionable advice are what both users and search engines want to see. In fact, Google’s guidelines state:

Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.

Make your content both useful and interesting by:

  • Finding a unique angle for your topic.
  • Writing clearly and concisely.
  • Making it easy to read and absorb.
  • Satisfying search intent and E-E-A-T.

Use SEO to grow free, passive traffic

Anyone can start a blog. But not everyone can make a blog successful. Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you earn free traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.

One of the biggest mistakes new blogs make is writing about the wrong things. Writing about topics that people are searching for gets your blog in front of interested readers. This can grow your audience and get more leads for your products, services, and courses. 

Using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer can allow you to identify relevant, high-volume keywords, understand search intent, and analyze competitors’ keyword strategies.

Matching terms report results, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Want to learn more about SEO? Check out our SEO course for beginners.

Build an email list

As amazing as SEO is, things can change on a dime. Sometimes, you’re just one algorithm update away from losing half your traffic (yes, it happens!), and that’s why capturing emails is so important. 

A niche-relevant newsletter sharing your own content and any other relevant things happening, like news or job opportunities, is a great way to gain thousands of subscribers that can turn into leads and sales.

Example of an industry-specific newsletter
An example of one of the leading SEO newsletters, SEOFOMO, which has over 27K subscribers.

As long as you aren’t spamming, you can contact your email list whenever you want. This is a great way to capture leads if you add additional monetization methods like courses, products, or services. 

Expand your blog by adding additional channels

You can make the most out of your blog (and possible income streams) by adding additional channels like social media, YouTube vlogging, or even a podcast. 

Example of a blog with multiple channels
Example of a parenting blog that has expanded to include digital products and a podcast as an additional channel.

This allows you to expand your target audience and can give you opportunities for additional monetization methods (YouTube ads and sponsored podcasts, for example) and further revenue streams.

Final thoughts

There are many ways blogs make money, and many of these can be utilized to ensure your blog has multiple income streams. 

Whether it is recommending affiliate products in your blog posts or selling consulting services, there are many monetization methods with great earning potential open to even beginner bloggers. 

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.



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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After 'Unexpected' Delays

OpenAI shares its plans for the GPT Store, enhancements to GPT Builder tools, privacy improvements, and updates coming to ChatGPT.

  • OpenAI has scheduled the launch of the GPT Store for early next year, aligning with its ongoing commitment to developing advanced AI technologies.
  • The GPT Builder tools have received substantial updates, including a more intuitive configuration interface and improved file handling capabilities.
  • Anticipation builds for upcoming updates to ChatGPT, highlighting OpenAI’s responsiveness to community feedback and dedication to AI innovation.

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here’s How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here's How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

It’s no secret that the web is growing by millions, if not billions of pages per day.

Our Content Explorer tool discovers 10 million new pages every 24 hours while being very picky about the pages that qualify for inclusion. The “main” Ahrefs web crawler crawls that number of pages every two minutes. 

But how much of this content gets organic traffic from Google?

To find out, we took the entire database from our Content Explorer tool (around 14 billion pages) and studied how many pages get traffic from organic search and why.

How many web pages get organic search traffic?

96.55% of all pages in our index get zero traffic from Google, and 1.94% get between one and ten monthly visits.

Distribution of pages by traffic from Content Explorer

Before we move on to discussing why the vast majority of pages never get any search traffic from Google (and how to avoid being one of them), it’s important to address two discrepancies with the studied data:

  1. ~14 billion pages may seem like a huge number, but it’s not the most accurate representation of the entire web. Even compared to the size of Site Explorer’s index of 340.8 billion pages, our sample size for this study is quite small and somewhat biased towards the “quality side of the web.”
  2. Our search traffic numbers are estimates. Even though our database of ~651 million keywords in Site Explorer (where our estimates come from) is arguably the largest database of its kind, it doesn’t contain every possible thing people search for in Google. There’s a chance that some of these pages get search traffic from super long-tail keywords that are not popular enough to make it into our database.

That said, these two “inaccuracies” don’t change much in the grand scheme of things: the vast majority of published pages never rank in Google and never get any search traffic. 

But why is this, and how can you be a part of the minority that gets organic search traffic from Google?

Well, there are hundreds of SEO issues that may prevent your pages from ranking well in Google. But if we focus only on the most common scenarios, assuming the page is indexed, there are only three of them.

Reason 1: The topic has no search demand

If nobody is searching for your topic, you won’t get any search traffic—even if you rank #1.

For example, I recently Googled “pull sitemap into google sheets” and clicked the top-ranking page (which solved my problem in seconds, by the way). But if you plug that URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you’ll see that it gets zero estimated organic search traffic:

The top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demandThe top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demand

This is because hardly anyone else is searching for this, as data from Keywords Explorer confirms:

Keyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demandKeyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demand

This is why it’s so important to do keyword research. You can’t just assume that people are searching for whatever you want to talk about. You need to check the data.

Our Traffic Potential (TP) metric in Keywords Explorer can help with this. It estimates how much organic search traffic the current top-ranking page for a keyword gets from all the queries it ranks for. This is a good indicator of the total search demand for a topic.

You’ll see this metric for every keyword in Keywords Explorer, and you can even filter for keywords that meet your minimum criteria (e.g., 500+ monthly traffic potential): 

Filtering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Reason 2: The page has no backlinks

Backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and its traffic.

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
Pages with more referring domains get more traffic

Same goes for the correlation between a page’s traffic and keyword rankings:

Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywordsPages with more referring domains rank for more keywords
Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywords

Does any of this data prove that backlinks help you rank higher in Google?

No, because correlation does not imply causation. However, most SEO professionals will tell you that it’s almost impossible to rank on the first page for competitive keywords without backlinks—an observation that aligns with the data above.

The key word there is “competitive.” Plenty of pages get organic traffic while having no backlinks…

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
How much traffic pages with no backlinks get

… but from what I can tell, almost all of them are about low-competition topics.

For example, this lyrics page for a Neil Young song gets an estimated 162 monthly visits with no backlinks: 

Example of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerExample of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

But if we check the keywords it ranks for, they almost all have Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores in the single figures:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

It’s the same story for this page selling upholstered headboards:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

You might have noticed two other things about these pages:

  • Neither of them get that much traffic. This is pretty typical. Our index contains ~20 million pages with no referring domains, yet only 2,997 of them get more than 1K search visits per month. That’s roughly 1 in every 6,671 pages with no backlinks.
  • Both of the sites they’re on have high Domain Rating (DR) scores. This metric shows the relative strength of a website’s backlink profile. Stronger sites like these have more PageRank that they can pass to pages with internal links to help them rank. 

Bottom line? If you want your pages to get search traffic, you really only have two options:

  1. Target uncompetitive topics that you can rank for with few or no backlinks.
  2. Target competitive topics and build backlinks to rank.

If you want to find uncompetitive topics, try this:

  1. Enter a topic into Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to max. 20
  4. Set the Lowest DR filter to your site’s DR (this will show you keywords with at least one of the same or lower DR ranking in the top 5)
Filtering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

(Remember to keep an eye on the TP column to make sure they have traffic potential.)

To rank for more competitive topics, you’ll need to earn or build high-quality backlinks to your page. If you’re not sure how to do that, start with the guides below. Keep in mind that it’ll be practically impossible to get links unless your content adds something to the conversation. 

Reason 3. The page doesn’t match search intent

Google wants to give users the most relevant results for a query. That’s why the top organic results for “best yoga mat” are blog posts with recommendations, not product pages. 

It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"

Basically, Google knows that searchers are in research mode, not buying mode.

It’s also why this page selling yoga mats doesn’t show up, despite it having backlinks from more than six times more websites than any of the top-ranking pages:

Page selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinksPage selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinks
Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"

Luckily, the page ranks for thousands of other more relevant keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. So it’s not such a big deal that it doesn’t rank for “best yoga mats.”

Number of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga matsNumber of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga mats

However, if you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic—and they already target a keyword with traffic potential—another quick SEO win is to re-optimize them for search intent.

We did this in 2018 with our free backlink checker.

It was originally nothing but a boring landing page explaining the benefits of our product and offering a 7-day trial: 

Original landing page for our free backlink checkerOriginal landing page for our free backlink checker

After analyzing search intent, we soon realized the issue:

People weren’t looking for a landing page, but rather a free tool they could use right away. 

So, in September 2018, we created a free tool and published it under the same URL. It ranked #1 pretty much overnight, and has remained there ever since. 

Our rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the pageOur rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the page

Organic traffic went through the roof, too. From ~14K monthly organic visits pre-optimization to almost ~200K today. 

Estimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checkerEstimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checker

TLDR

96.55% of pages get no organic traffic. 

Keep your pages in the other 3.45% by building backlinks, choosing topics with organic traffic potential, and matching search intent.

Ping me on Twitter if you have any questions. 🙂



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Firefox URL Tracking Removal – Is This A Trend To Watch?

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Firefox URL Tracking Removal - Is This A Trend To Watch?

Firefox recently announced that they are offering users a choice on whether or not to include tracking information from copied URLs, which comes on the on the heels of iOS 17 blocking user tracking via URLs. The momentum of removing tracking information from URLs appears to be gaining speed. Where is this all going and should marketers be concerned?

Is it possible that blocking URL tracking parameters in the name of privacy will become a trend industrywide?

Firefox Announcement

Firefox recently announced that beginning in the Firefox Browser version 120.0, users will be able to select whether or not they want URLs that they copied to contain tracking parameters.

When users select a link to copy and click to raise the contextual menu for it, Firefox is now giving users a choice as to whether to copy the URL with or without the URL tracking parameters that might be attached to the URL.

Screenshot Of Firefox 120 Contextual Menu

Screenshot of Firefox functionality

According to the Firefox 120 announcement:

“Firefox supports a new “Copy Link Without Site Tracking” feature in the context menu which ensures that copied links no longer contain tracking information.”

Browser Trends For Privacy

All browsers, including Google’s Chrome and Chrome variants, are adding new features that make it harder for websites to track users online through referrer information embedded in a URL when a user clicks from one site and leaves through that click to visit another site.

This trend for privacy has been ongoing for many years but it became more noticeable in 2020 when Chrome made changes to how referrer information was sent when users click links to visit other sites. Firefox and Safari followed with similar referrer behavior.

Whether the current Firefox implementation would be disruptive or if the impact is overblown is kind of besides the point.

What is the point is whether or not what Firefox and Apple did to protect privacy is a trend and if that trend will extend to more blocking of URL parameters that are stronger than what Firefox recently implemented.

I asked Kenny Hyder, CEO of online marketing agency Pixel Main, what his thoughts are about the potential disruptive aspect of what Firefox is doing and whether it’s a trend.

Kenny answered:

“It’s not disruptive from Firefox alone, which only has a 3% market share. If other popular browsers follow suit it could begin to be disruptive to a limited degree, but easily solved from a marketers prospective.

If it became more intrusive and they blocked UTM tags, it would take awhile for them all to catch on if you were to circumvent UTM tags by simply tagging things in a series of sub-directories.. ie. site.com/landing/<tag1>/<tag2> etc.

Also, most savvy marketers are already integrating future proof workarounds for these exact scenarios.

A lot can be done with pixel based integrations rather than cookie based or UTM tracking. When set up properly they can actually provide better and more accurate tracking and attribution. Hence the name of my agency, Pixel Main.”

I think most marketers are aware that privacy is the trend. The good ones have already taken steps to keep it from becoming a problem while still respecting user privacy.”

Some URL Parameters Are Already Affected

For those who are on the periphery of what’s going on with browsers and privacy, it may come as a surprise that some tracking parameters are already affected by actions meant to protect user privacy.

Jonathan Cairo, Lead Solutions Engineer at Elevar shared that there is already a limited amount of tracking related information stripped from URLs.

But he also explained that there are limits to how much information can be stripped from URLs because the resulting negative effects would cause important web browsing functionality to fail.

Jonathan explained:

“So far, we’re seeing a selective trend where some URL parameters, like ‘fbclid’ in Safari’s private browsing, are disappearing, while others, such as TikTok’s ‘ttclid’, remain.

UTM parameters are expected to stay since they focus on user segmentation rather than individual tracking, provided they are used as intended.

The idea of completely removing all URL parameters seems improbable, as it would disrupt key functionalities on numerous websites, including banking services and search capabilities.

Such a drastic move could lead users to switch to alternative browsers.

On the other hand, if only some parameters are eliminated, there’s the possibility of marketers exploiting the remaining ones for tracking purposes.

This raises the question of whether companies like Apple will take it upon themselves to prevent such use.

Regardless, even in a scenario where all parameters are lost, there are still alternative ways to convey click IDs and UTM information to websites.”

Brad Redding of Elevar agreed about the disruptive effect from going too far with removing URL tracking information:

“There is still too much basic internet functionality that relies on query parameters, such as logging in, password resets, etc, which are effectively the same as URL parameters in a full URL path.

So we believe the privacy crackdown is going to continue on known trackers by blocking their tracking scripts, cookies generated from them, and their ability to monitor user’s activity through the browser.

As this grows, the reliance on brands to own their first party data collection and bring consent preferences down to a user-level (vs session based) will be critical so they can backfill gaps in conversion data to their advertising partners outside of the browser or device.”

The Future Of Tracking, Privacy And What Marketers Should Expect

Elevar raises good points about how far browsers can go in terms of how much blocking they can do. Their response that it’s down to brands to own their first party data collection and other strategies to accomplish analytics without compromising user privacy.

Given all the laws governing privacy and Internet tracking that have been enacted around the world it looks like privacy will continue to be a trend.

However, at this point it time, the advice is to keep monitoring how far browsers are going but there is no expectation that things will get out of hand.

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