30 Days of Ecommerce Testing Day 26: Blog your findings


(Heather) #1

Day 26 of 30 days of ecommerce testing is:

Learn about how users are tracked on ecommerce websites/apps. Blog your findings!

I thought it would be useful to have a Club post to gather all of those blogs together. So, what did you find?


(Magda) #2

As I don’t really want to start a blog just for this one challenge, I’ll just dump what I found here. And there is a lot and truth be told I find it hard to get out of concerned user mode and switch to the testing mindset when I read about it all.

This here is about Facebook rather than a typical ecommerce site but both social media integration with shopping and serving ads are well in the ecommerce domain. So have a look at the many interesting ways a user can be tracked:

The above list doesn’t mention it explicitly but a very popular implementation of the tracking pixel is a “Facebook pixel”.

A web coupon can contain a huge amount of details about the user:

Cookies apparently come in more forms than small bits of text (kindly refrain from pointing out the existence of chocolate ones tyvm):


Beacons are not just used online, either:

And here for some dessert reading :cake: :

A small but back in its day quite widely shared anecdote on how data was used already before we started to smear a massive data trail behind us online:

A really enjoyable article on why even “just collecting metadata” is enough to infer a lot of information about a person.
https://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/

And a tool that lets you check how easily your device can be identified by trackers:


(Divya) #3

As @maos mentioned, i would summarize my findings here instead of blog reference link:

These were the two useful articles which i came across:

https://www.thoughtworks.com/talks/track-your-user-actions-learnings-from-a-massive-e-commerce-site

However i was not able to find the how part of it. May be will learn from people who post further


(David) #4

There was so much covered above that I don’t think I could add to it, so I took one example and rolled with it. @maos posted about Tracking Pixels above, so I looked into it a bit more.

So, they look like this --> image

Pretty innocuous, right?

The interesting part to the article she posted really comes with some of the questions and answers at the end. Why use a tracking pixel at all and not just the add itself? How do you implement this?

The answer to the first:
image

In other words, if marketing companies A and B both have the same ad for product C going out to a bunch of websites, they want to know how many people viewed THEIR ad vs that of the other company. (Correct me if I’m wrong). The ad itself isn’t a unique element.

The answer to the second question comes from a number of different services that will help you set up tracking pixels by giving you code to embed on your site. These include CilckMeter, Ontraport as well as Google Analytics and Facebook Business.

Another question I had was “What is the distinction between a tracking pixel and a cookie?” There are some good answers here on Quora.

-Dave K


(Magda) #5

Apparently tracking pixels are also used instead of read confirmations in e-mails, as sending confirmations can be suppressed at the client. That’s why a lot of clients don’t display images in e-mails by default, so as not to confirm the existence of the account to potential spammers.


(Mike) #6

Couldn’t top Magda’s post so I just referenced it and mentioned a few ways to keep your details private online.


(Heather) #7

From our friends on Twitter: