What is a cookie and what does it do?
Cookies are files that are sent by web servers to web browsers and can be used by web servers to identify and track users as they navigate different pages on a website, and to identify users returning to a website. For more information about cookies and how we use them visit: nature.com/info/cookies
What has changed with cookie consent management?
When did you make the change to your cookie consent management?
We have been updating our websites to respond to changes in legislation regarding cookie consent since January 2021.
Why did you make this change to your cookie consent management?
Due to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and ePrivacy Regulation, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) all websites that operate (or have users from) within the EU or the USA have to comply with these regulations. As we value our users’ privacy we have been prudent in following these laws and by setting up cookie consent.
Find out more about the General Data Protection Regulation at:
Find out more about the California Consumer Privacy Act at:
What is the impact of this change on my content marketing campaign?
Now that website users have to actively opt-in for cookies, we are seeing that some are choosing not to opt-in. These users can still engage with content on the site without giving consent, however that activity will not be measured by Google Analytics.
Analysing the click data from marketing activities used to drive traffic, such as social media advertising, native ads and email, we are maintaining levels of engagement which suggests that users are still visiting the content. However, as we now cannot track all traffic this means there is the possibility that your report will show lower traffic rates than previously experienced, as some of the traffic data is essentially hidden.
Does it affect all traffic from different marketing channels in the same way?
Not necessarily, when we retarget audiences (those who have previously visited our websites), the impact is less significant compared to when we target new audiences. Because retargeted audiences have a prior relationship with our websites, these users are typically more likely to opt-in for cookies, or have already opted in for them on a previous visit, than new users.
The cookie consent change could also affect traffic that you as a client drive to your content hosted on our websites, as it could consist of a higher proportion of new users to our websites, of which those users are more likely to opt-out of cookies.
Why does my performance report now mention estimated pageviews?
Estimated pageviews include user activity that is hidden due to the change in cookie consent. Estimates are based on historical traffic and engagement metrics for Nature Research Custom Media created content and targeted social campaigns.
What is the difference between estimated pageviews and tracked views on my performance report?
Estimated pageviews are the total pageviews that include an estimate for hidden traffic. Tracked views are the pageviews that we are able to track via Google Analytics.
Is there anything else I need to be aware of with my report?
The engagement metrics on your performance report, such as average time on site and completion rate, are based on tracked views only. As the traffic that we can track is that of users who have opted-in, possibly due to previously visiting our websites, we are seeing an increase in the engagement metrics, such as completion rate and time on page. It is possible that the engagement rates of those who have opted out of cookie consent could be lower but as this traffic is hidden we can’t currently monitor it.
How are you planning to manage this issue in the future?
We will be implementing Google Analytics 4 later this year, which uses machine learning to fill in traffic data gaps, reducing the reliance on cookies. Read more about GA4 and cookies.