Canadian businesses lack awareness of third-party tracking risks on their websites, and it could endanger both them and their customers, a new report has found.
The study, conducted by CRM Essentials and sponsored by Zoho, surveyed 429 Canadian business leaders and employees. It found that as many as 22.4% of Canadian businesses were unaware that third parties can install code on their websites without consent.
CRM Essentials also found that only 20% of the respondents inform their website users that they use third-party tracking codes.
According to the report, the data being collected and leveraged by third-party tracking can include IP addresses, behavioural data, social activity, transactional data, feedback, application usage data, and even data about the user’s devices and browsers.
Although such data is typically used for the purposes of personalizing ads, the study warned that it can also be used to develop analytics about user behaviour, allowing social media sharing, and other hidden purposes.
“Given the importance of data privacy and transparency, it’s quite surprising that so few Canadian businesses inform their website visitors about the third-party tracking on their sites,” said Zoho product evangelist Chandrasekar LSP. “Especially at a time when data privacy laws are in a state of transition in Canada, this is a missed opportunity for businesses to take data privacy into their own hands and further establish trust with their customer base.”
Other key findings of the report include:
- Only 38% of Canadian businesses have a well-defined, documented policy for customer data privacy that is strictly applied.
- Only 10% of Canadian businesses are completely comfortable with how third parties use the data.
- Only 21.6% of Canadian businesses say that third-party companies have done a good job of explaining what they use their customer data for.
- The most common purposes for which Canadian businesses allowed third parties to install code on their websites were:
- Sharing content on social media (26.6%)
- Gathering analytics on who is consuming content (23.1%)
- Tracking advertising campaigns (21.4%)
- Tracking affiliate relationships for transactions (15.2%)
- Plugins to perform functions like SEO, security comment capture, and more (13.8%)