Evidon's Challenge: Getting Ghostery Into The Hands Of More Users

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ghostery-panelAs we noted last week, Evidon has redoubled its efforts to turn the 20 million users of its Ghostery browser plugin into a larger revenue stream.

Execs have decided the tag-monitoring browser extension holds potential as a pixel analytics panel, and they aim to promote this crowd-sourced analytics capability to enterprise marketers to audit their site tags -- and those of competitors. Making this dream a reality is a primary focus for incoming Chief Operating Officer Emily Riley.

Sustaining Ghostery as a workhorse for marketers requires that the panel keep growing to fight attrition through uninstalls and hardware and software replacements. Consequently, Evidon appears focused on driving new installs of Ghostery in the US and around the world – and getting those users to opt in to its "GhostRank" panel.

This week, the company pushed out a multibrowser update to Ghostery (version 5.1) adding support for 12 languages across its versions for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. As part of that push, it made a gentle plea for users to "support Ghostery."

"If you love Ghostery and want to help make it all it can be, opt-in to GhostRank and become a member of our panel," says a call to action on the browser's Chrome extension page.

As of today, just over 10 million of Ghostery's 20 million users have opted in to have their website visits and related tag data tracked* for use in Evidon's analytics products. While the update is likely to boost installs (and GhostRank opt-ins), an Evidon representative said it might prove difficult to increase the ratio of panel participants beyond their current, already-lofty 50%.

A more likely (and still positive for Evidon) outcome is that the total number of GhostRank users increases along with Ghostery installs, but the ratio of panel participants remains flat or declines.

Evidon has not yet engaged in a paid install campaign for Ghostery. Rather its media impressions are all viral and earned, including through annual hackathons and a presence at the South by Southwest festival.

Since Ghostery’s name basically stands for transparency, Evidon knows it needs to be upfront in how it communicates product plans and promotes the plugin, which is why it recently updated its language to ensure users are clear on what they're agreeing to.

Here's how it describes GhostRank to users:

"GhostRank is an option you can select if you would like to support Ghostery. When you select it, you allow Ghostery to track trackers as your browser traverses the internet. The anonymous information on the trackers is sent back to us, and we make reports out of it. It’s how we make money, it makes the internet more transparent for everyone."

Importantly, the 5.1 update includes East Asian languages like Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Ghostery downloads nearly doubled last year in these countries, according to Evidon, though actual numbers weren't disclosed. The Asia market represents a significant growth opportunity.

*Data is anonymous and aggregated – i.e. not linked to individual users.

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