Google Analytics Launches Cookieless Tracking Updates
Today, many of the best SEO specialists use Google Analytics, a helpful service that tracks and reports website traffic. The platform’s reliance on cookies has long been considered one of its main weaknesses, but Google has good news for all SEO specialists who utilise it. The search engine giant has recently launched updates to Google Analytics that allow data tracking, even if a user has not consented to cookies.
Google is now promoting new privacy-safe tracking methods that rely on machine learning and consented first-party data. What’s more, these methods do not involve the search engine company’s controversial FLoC technology.
With these new updates, businesses and site owners can expect Google to:
- Improve its machine learning models to make behavioural reporting possible in Google Analytics.
- Provide them with easy access to Consent Mode, which changes how Google tags work based on a searcher’s cookie settings.
- Conduct improved conversions that let tags use consented first-party data to determine how a searcher converts after they have engaged with ads.
Indeed, SEOs and marketers can gain more helpful insights and efficiently measure conversions while respecting user content.
What Are Web Cookies?
Web cookies are text files with small pieces of data that sites place on devices as people surf the Internet. When a user visits a website, the site stores these cookies, which contain bits of information such as their username and password. On their next visit, the website will use these cookies to identify that it is the same user who has visited them previously.
Although it may seem a bad thing, cookies can be used to help provide a better browsing experience. For instance, they allow users to save their username and password so they do not have to log in to a particular site every time they visit on a device. For e-commerce sites, cookies also allow users to add items to their shopping cart and save the information, so they do not have to re-add the products when they visit again. All these are referred to as first-party cookies, which are set by the site that the person is visiting.
However, cookies can also be used for advertising purposes, which are not essential for improving the browsing experience. These are third-party cookies, which refer to cookies created by domains apart from the one the user is currently visiting.
Marketing companies use these types of cookies to target people with personalised advertising messages as they surf the Internet. Some people consider such cookies to be an invasion of their privacy and prefer to disable them on their settings.
Google Analytics Tracking Without Cookies
Google Analytics is going to use machine learning to help marketers better understand their customers with or without cookies. This is a part of Google Analytics’ learning abilities, which were added last year. With this feature, businesses and website owners can gain more relevant marketing insights, such as predicting whether or not a customer will buy a product or service.
Since the behavioural report will be available in Analytics, SEO marketers can still gain relevant information even if cookies are not available. This allows them to have a complete view of the customer journey and use those insights to improve their marketing campaigns.
Machine learning will also be used whenever necessary, no matter if cookies are available or not.
Google’s Vidhya Srinivasan announced that the search engine company is promoting privacy-safe methods to efficiently measure relevant information and ensure that it is actionable and accurate. One of those methods involves gathering first-party data, which can be done with the Consent Mode.
Consent Mode allows SEOs to adjust how Google tags operate based on the user’s cookie settings. If a user does not allow cookies, Consent Mode will use conversion modelling to recover over 70 per cent of ad-click-to-conversion journeys. This helps marketers continue measuring their complete campaign performance while still respecting the users’ privacy.
Google is going to allow businesses and webmasters to implement Consent Mode in Google from Tag Manager accounts. This lets marketers customise and modify tag behaviour based on the searcher’s consent preferences.
Enhanced conversions are another privacy-safe way for marketers to measure data accurately, even with fewer cookies. It uses consented, first-party data to provide a more accurate view of what a user does after they have engaged with ads.
SEOs can gain the data necessary to unlock performance insights like conversion lift. It also improves measurement in scenarios when ads are shown on one device, and the user converts on a separate device.
It is important to note that first-party data is designed to protect user privacy and ensure security, meaning it may give marketers anonymised and aggregated conversion reports.
How Google Analytics Previously Worked Without Cookies
SEO specialists were hesitant to disable cookies from Google Analytics before because doing so results in a broken functionality. It will not be as effective when tracking visitors, and every page view is considered a unique visitor.
In some cases, however, one can use their own storage mechanism as an alternative to Google Analytics cookies. Still, it was seen as a complicated solution, especially for average website back then.
Now that Google has launched these new updates, marketers can look forward to better days ahead. Some companies that have tested Google’s new privacy-safe methods have reported an increase in sales of 8.6 per cent in Search and 31 per cent in YouTube.
Google will share more information about their Google Analytics updates at Google Marketing Livestream 2021 on Thursday, 27 May at 8:00 a.m. PT / 11:00 a.m. ET.
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