Note: This change was previously scheduled for August 12, 2021, but has since been delayed. The code change is not yet released to our website tracker JS (chartbeat.js), but will be deployed soon. We will update this article when a new release date is selected.
What’s changing, and why?
There is no need for any update in your code. After the change, users will be uniquely identified across subdomains, so if your site makes heavy use of subdomains you may see shifts in the following site-wide metrics:
- Unique visitors
- New/Returning/Loyal users
- Quality clicks
- Loyal visitor pageviews
If for some reason (detailed below) you wish for cookies to remain scoped to the specific subdomain, we have introduced a new configuration variable which will retain the current behavior. Documentation on this variable, called the cookieDomain variable, can be found on our documentation site. Because our code change is scheduled for August 12 at 11 pm ET, we recommend you make any changes before that deadline.
Our Chartbeat tracked website uses multiple subdomains. How might we notice our Chartbeat data change after the cookie scope update?
Chartbeat tracked websites that use multiple subdomains may see…
- A decrease in unique visitor counts
- A shift in new/returning/loyal user counts
- An increase in loyal user pageviews
- An increase in quality clicks (across subdomains)
Under what circumstances should we consider adding the cookieDomain variable to our Chartbeat tracked site(s)?
Customers who have Chartbeat Sites dedicated to specific subdomains, indicating that they treat these subdomains as distinct brands or business units within their media portfolio, may wish to use our cookieDomain variable to leave cookies scoped to the subdomain instead of the root domain.
Let’s say I have three Chartbeat Sites on my account: mysite.com, newsbrand1.mysite.com, and newsbrand2.mysite.com. My company runs these two unique news brands under mysite.com subdomains, so we set these up as three unique Sites in our Chartbeat account because they have different audiences (with some overlap), and the sites are run by different teams at our organization.
If I do not add the cookieDomain variable to the Chartbeat code on our newsbrand1 and newsbrand2 pages before 08/12/2021, I can expect my new/returning/loyal user counts to shift up the funnel in these dashboards as our users’ loyalty now incorporates their visitation history to any and all mysite.com pages, including www.mysite.com, and both unique subdomains.
If my newsbrand 1 and 2 teams prefer to view visitor loyalty data in Chartbeat attributed only to user visits to pages under each specific subdomain (not counting these same users’ site visits to our other mysite.com brands), we should add the Chartbeat variable to all pages on both subdomains, like so:
For newsbrand1.mysite.com pages:
_sf_async_config.cookieDomain = “newsbrand1.mysite.com”
For newsbrand2.mysite.com pages:
_sf_async_config.cookieDomain = “newsbrand2.mysite.com”