Implementing Fathom Analytics on Marketing Websites

Implementing Fathom Analytics on Marketing Websites

After a community governance vote, Status will implement privacy preserving Fathom Analytics on marketing websites to better measure campaign success and set realistic KPI’s for v1 launch and beyond—all while living up to our Principles.

In 2018, we removed Google Analytics, Hubspot, Facebook Pixel, and all forms of cookie tracking from our marketing websites. We did this to adhere to our Principles and respect the privacy and security of our community. We are, after all, creating products, tools, and infrastructure to protect user privacy.

How can we authentically build a product whose mission it is “to be a secure communication tool that upholds human rights” all while monitoring and collecting data on anyone who visits our websites?

The removal of such analytics tools has made measuring success of marketing initiatives a tricky task. For the past 2 years, we have been relying solely on:

  • Overall engagement and impressions from social platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube
  • On chain data collected via smart contracts on analytics.status.im
  • Engagement on forums such as Reddit & discuss.status.im
  • Engagement and data collected by Github
  • Beta Programs—limited data from Test Flight and Playstore Beta programs
  • Real conversations with real people

With the launch of Status App v1, and other large scale marketing initiatives in the works, we simply need a better way to measure success and set ambitious, yet realistic goals.

We researched open source, self hosted measurement tools and came across Fathom privacy preserving analytics.

Fathom collects trends and insights, not personal details about specific website visitors. Fathom offers simple traffic insights such as top pages, top referrers, bounce rate, and average time people spend on a site. That’s it.

No personally identifiable information (PII) is collected, and absolutely no cookies are implemented.

So how does Fathom do it?

  • The data is collected by embedding an image (1x1 pixel probably) via a URL in the page
  • The image is downloaded from their servers
  • When a request is made to our servers, the process handling hashes and salts the data
  • Data in the scrambled form is then passed to their Redis clusters for storage
  • The only information stored is essentially paths, referrers, and timing of requests
  • They do not inject their own cookies and associate to users (which is what Google Analytics does with client IDs and user IDs)

“We don’t collect personal or invasive data about your users, nor do we use cookies”

How will Status use it?

As mentioned above, this tool will become critical in measuring campaign success as we launch v1 and roll out other exciting projects. Fathom enables us to live up to our Principles and protect our community’s privacy all while:

  • Measuring unique visitors to web pages
  • Inferring the effectiveness of PR campaigns, social campaigns, acquisition campaigns by time boxing site information
  • Respectfully learning about our general community through aggregate referral data and site traffic
  • Measuring all blog content and quantifying for efficacy, time spent on specific blog articles, and click through rates
  • Learning about success and unsuccessful web page content (docs, landing pages, etc)
  • Measuring metrics such as “Time from Docs to Signup”
  • Monitoring link clicks over a period of time (“install”, “iOS”, “Android”, “APK”)
  • Creating incentive programs for content creators with custom campaign landing pages

It is extremely important to note that Fathom will NEVER live in the Status App. It will only ever be used on marketing websites.

Also we will implement a self hosted version to further control how the tool is used.

So why bring this up now?

In the name of total transparency and operating a stakeholder governed project, we opened up the decision to implement Fathom to a community governance vote.

It can be perceived by some to be in opposition to the Principles. There are those that feel tracking of any kind should not be tolerated. After a proposal process and community vote, 100% of stakeholders voted in favor of implementing Fathom on marketing websites.

For further information on the proposal, please visit the discuss post here. Feel free to post any questions you may have about the implementation in the forum.

As always you can join us in Status, follow us on Twitter, or check out the repos in Github