The European Court of Justice has declared cookie opt-ins to be a duty that can be enforced. This is supposed to protect your data. Raidboxes complies with the requirements - and loses sales as a result. Why data protection is not equally fair for all companies.
GDPR , ePrivacy Regulation There have been more fun times for website owners. If you're following the guidelines, you've got your work cut out for you. You'll also need to keep up to date with what's new. The most critical point: Your conversion suffers - you gain fewer customers.
The following are our own experiences with the topic of data protection. In particular, the implementation of cookie opt-ins is a major headache for Raidboxes .
Note: We believe that privacy should not be driven by marketing metrics. And that there are still enough possibilities to tailor a website to the target group. In this respect, this is not a contribution "against", but "for" data protection.
Disadvantages for companies
Our rankings on Google have dropped significantly since we started placing cookie banners on our sites . And this for many of our top keywords like "WordPress Hosting" or "WooCommerce":
This is because the rankings in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) depend indirectly on numerous factors that the banner influences. Among others, these are:
- Website abandonment rate. It indicates the percentage of visitors who leave the portal immediately without actually using it.
- Duration of use and page views per visit.
- Lack of tracking by Google if the associated cookies are not accepted.
The formula is quite simple: worse rankings = less traffic = fewer new customers = less revenue. The effects of the Cookie Regulation were a bit of a shock for us. They show how legal requirements and court rulings have a direct impact on conversion.
Falling search engine rankings are causing a decline in visitors to our site. But this is not the only cause. Cookie banners - as just explained - increase the abandonment rate. And this also applies to those visitors who come to us via social networks, partner sites or direct calls. The sessions on Raidboxes have decreased by 25.8 percent since the cookie rule was implemented:
As a consequence, we have to place significantly more ads on Facebook, Twitter or Google itself to even begin to compensate for the losses. That costs a lot of money. Not every start-up will be able to afford this. In this case, the legal requirements are clearly distorting competition. Small companies have to spend disproportionately more on data protection. This is the other side of the coin when it comes to more rights for consumers.
Tip: Your WordPress is not yet GDPR -compliant? Then use our GDPR guide for agencies, freelancers & website operators. It familiarizes you with the most important contents of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
In some cases, only a fraction of users agree to all cookies if the associated banner was implemented in compliance with the rules. This is shown by a recent study. At Raidboxes , it's not nearly as bad. Thanks to a clever implementation of our Borlabs Cookie solution - more about that later.
Nevertheless: Our marketing team knows in less and less cases
- Where our visitors come from (Google, Facebook, Twitter, other websites, direct visits...)
- Which websites use them and how
- How they navigate through our offer, visit us again, cancel on certain sites
- Who becomes a customer, how and why, etc.
Now you may say "That's exactly the purpose of the data protection regulations". Or even: "I don't want you to be able to evaluate my visit". For us, fewer numbers mean that we can no longer optimize our website to the same extent. This is at the expense of usability. But we also gain fewer new customers.
Tip: You are looking for a WordPress analysis without tracking cookie? GDPR compliant? The Plugin Statify makes it possible. See our blog post on the topic.
Young companies pursue a mission. So do we at Raidboxes:
- We make high quality WordPress Hosting available and affordable for everyone.
- We offer the best support in our industry.
- With our FREE-DEV program, WP pros and agencies host for free. And benefit from attractive commissions. This helps freelancers as well as smaller companies.
- We invest in climate protection - significantly more than our competitors. Because your website consumes a lot of resources. We counteract this. With our climate-positive hosting.
Legitimate concerns like the cookie regulation make it harder for us to pursue this mission.
What affects us personally the most: Not all of our competitors adhere to the data protection rules. The black sheep profit directly from this decision. We have lost important rankings on Google to those web hosts who do not place cookie banners.
On the website 2gdpr.com you can check how your website is positioned in terms of data protection and GDPR(GDPR). You can also find out via the browser whether your website sets cookies. 2GDPR gives Raidboxes a very good "report card":
Other host - also from the WordPress environment - fail several points in the test. Only very few users see this. And it will hardly be a purchase criterion.
Of course we discussed it within the team. We don't just put the failures away like that. Nevertheless, it's not an option for us to roll back the cookie opt-ins. There are several reasons for this:
- Warning letters: Of course, we worry about a potential warning letter. The costs for this can amount to two to four percent of a company's turnover.
- Competition law: Competitors are not allowed to warn your site because of GDPR violations? This is not correct, as attorney Niklas Plutte explains in his blog.
- file a lawsuit: At the same time, we are not prepared to take action against our competitors who do not care about data protection to the same extent. The costs are too high for us, the prospects of success too low. And a mutual loop of lawsuits benefits no one.
- Warning budget: There are first companies that provide a warning budget to site . They deliberately forego compliance with legal rules. When a warning comes, they book it as a marketing expense. Because the sales profit until then is usually higher. This is not our way.
Last but not least, we at Raidboxes want to be a role model when it comes to data protection. It is not fitting for a reputable web host to slack off when it comes to data protection. That's why we regularly show you how to implement the current legal basis with WordPress and WooCommerce in instructions here on the blog.
We rely on the Plugin Borlabs cookie for the provision of cookie banners in WordPress . The extension helps you to implement the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR ) and the upcoming ePrivacy Regulation .
Borlabs Cookie lets you control first and third party cookies. You can have them confirmed by your website visitors via a banner (also called "cookie box"). The Plugin runs smoothly, the support responds quickly and well.
Tip: Sven Scheuerle has written a tutorial for our blog on how to set up Borlab's cookie: GDPR & E-Privacy Opt-in for WordPress . It also shows you the options of the GDPR tool.
Especially exciting: With the solution, you can evaluate in detail how often your users have consented to which cookie categories. This is important to optimize the banner and your online marketing step by step. Because there are various options in Borlabs Cookie to design the buttons, the animations or even the text of the banner:
Alternatively, you can also use the WP GDPR tools. You know other good cookie tools for WordPress and WooCommerce? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.
Data protection is a major headache for companies. And not all of them take this task seriously. Favored by ambiguous laws and missing court decisions. Perhaps Google will include data protection compliance as a ranking factor in some form at some point - it would be desirable.
It is to be hoped that other IT companies will make improvements if they have so far neglected GDPR & Co. Because the protection of personal data should be a concern for all of us. No matter how annoying and ambivalent the implementation may often be in practice.