Author Archives: Russell Ketchum

Some facts about Google Analytics data privacy

The web has to work for users, advertisers, and publishers of all sizes — but users first. And with good reason: people are using the internet in larger numbers for more daily needs than ever. They don’t want privacy as an afterthought; they want privacy by design.

Understanding this is core to how we think about building Google Analytics, a set of everyday tools that help organizations in the commercial, public, and nonprofit sectors understand how visitors use their sites and apps — but never by identifying individuals or tracking them across sites or apps.

Because some of these organizations lately have faced questions about whether an analytics service can be compatible with user privacy and the rules for international transfers of personal data, we wanted to explain what Google Analytics does, and just as important, what it does not do.

Fact: Google Analytics is a service used by organizations to understand how their sites and apps are used, so that they can make them work better. It does not track people or profile people across the internet.

  • Google Analytics cannot be used to track people across the web or apps. It does not create user profiles.
  • Google Analytics helps owners of apps and websites understand how their users are engaging with their sites and apps (and only their site or app). For example, it can help them understand which sections of an online newspaper have the most readers, or how often shopping carts are abandoned for an online store. This is what helps them improve the experience for their customers by better understanding what’s working or not working.
  • This kind of information also includes things like the type of device or browser used; how long, on average, visitors spend on their site or app; or roughly where in the world their visitors are coming from. These data points are never used to identify the visitor or anyone else in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics customers are prohibited from uploading information that could be used by Google to identify a person. We provide our customers with data deletion tools to help them promptly remove data from our servers if they inadvertently do so.

Fact: Organizations control the data they collect using Google Analytics.

  • Organizations use Google Analytics because they choose to do so. They, not Google, control what data is collected and how it is used.
  • They retain ownership of the data they collect using Google Analytics, and Google only stores and processes this data per their instructions — for example, to provide them with reports about how visitors use their sites and apps.
  • These organizations can, separately, elect to share their Analytics data with Google for one of a few specific purposes, including technical support, benchmarking, and sales support.
  • Organizations must take explicit action to allow Google to use their analytics data to improve or create new products and services. Such settings are entirely optional and require explicit opt-in.

Fact: Google Analytics helps customers with compliance by providing them with a range of controls and resources.

Fact: Google Analytics helps put usersin control of their data.

  • Google makes products and features that are secure by default, private by design, and put users in control. That’s why we have long offered a browser add-on that enables users to disable measurement by Google Analytics on any site they visit.
  • Along with providing strong default protections, we aim to give people accessible, intuitive and useful controls so they can make choices that are right for them. For example, visitors can choose if and how Analytics cookies are used by websites they visit, or block all cookies on all or some websites.
  • In addition, organizations are required to give visitors proper notice about the implementations and features of Google Analytics that they use, and whether this data can be connected to other data they have about them.
  • These customers are also required to obtain consent from users for each visit, as required by applicable laws in their country.

Fact: Google Analytics cannot be used to show advertisements to people based on sensitive information like health, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.

  • Google Analytics does not serve ads at all. It is a web and app analytics tool. (You can read all about it here.)
  • Some organizations do use insights they’ve garnered via Google Analytics about their own sites and apps to inform their own advertising campaigns.
  • If a business also uses Google’s advertising platforms, it’s strictly required to follow Google’s advertising guidelines preventing the use of sensitive information to personalize ads — like health, race, religion, or sexual orientation. We never allow sensitive information to be used for personalized advertising. It’s simply off limits.

Fact: An organization’s Google Analytics data can only be transferred when specific and rigorous privacy conditions are met.

  • Google Analytics operates data centers globally, including in the United States, to maximize service speed and reliability. Before data is transferred to any servers in the United States, it is collected in local servers, where users’ IP addresses are anonymized (when the feature is enabled by customers).
  • The GDPR and European Court of Justice say that data can be transferred outside of the European Union for just this sort of reason, provided conditions are met.
  • In order to meet those conditions, we apply numerous measures, including:
    • Using data transfer agreements like EU Standard Contractual Clauses, which have been affirmed as a valid mechanism for transferring data to the United States, together with additional safeguards that keep data secure: industry-leading data encryption, physical security in our data centers and robust policies for handling government requests for user information.
    • Maintaining widely recognized, internationally accepted independent security standards like ISO 27001, which provides independent accreditation of our systems, applications, people, technology, processes and data centers.
    • Offering website owners a wide range of controls that they can use to keep their website visitors’ data safe and secure.
  • Our infrastructure and encryption is designed to protect data, and safeguard it from any government access.

And we use robust technical measures (such as Application Layer Transport Security and HTTPS encryption) to protect against interception in transit within Google’s infrastructure, between data centers, and between users and websites, including surveillance attempts by government authorities around the world.

Meet your marketing objectives with the new Google Analytics

A year ago, weintroduced the new Google Analytics to help you meet the challenges of an evolving measurement landscape and get better ROI from your marketing for the long term. Google Analytics 4 properties offer privacy-safe solutions to measure the customer journey, machine learning to predict outcomes and automate the discovery of insights, and easy activation of those insights in Google’s advertising platforms to enhance your marketing performance.

Since then, we’ve introduced features like improved advertising reporting and support for user consent choices that help you achieve your marketing objectives without compromising user privacy.

Now, we're launching additional capabilities, including an improved Search integration and smarter attribution to give you the insights you need to optimize performance across all of your marketing channels. We're also introducing new modeling features that will close gaps in your data and help you future-proof your measurement.

With these additional capabilities, we encourage you to use the new Google Analytics as your primary web and app analytics solution going forward.

Easily access Search insights

Search Console provides detailed information about your website’s organic Search performance, including the site’s rank in Search results, queries that led to clicks, and post-click data like engaged sessions and conversions. With the new Search Console integration, you'll be able to understand the role that organic Search plays in driving traffic to and engagement on your site relative to other marketing channels like Search ads, email, or social.

Get more value with data-driven attribution

Building on the two attribution reports, Conversion paths and Model comparison, we announced earlier this year, we are introducing data-driven attribution – without minimum threshold requirements – to Google Analytics 4 properties.

Google’s data-driven attribution models give you a better understanding of how all of your marketing activities collectively influence your conversions, so you don’t over or undervalue a single channel. Unlike last-click attribution, where 100% of the credit goes to the final interaction, data-driven attribution distributes credit to each marketing touchpoint based on how much impact the touchpoint had on driving a conversion.

A screenshot of three bar graphs in different shades of blue showing a grouping of credit to each marketing touchpoint.

Conversions by channel grouping using data-driven attribution

Data-driven attribution improves marketing ROI by helping you make smarter decisions about where and how much to invest, and as a result, drive more conversions for less cost. With its use of machine learning, data-driven attribution is a more durable approach that will deliver results even when it’s difficult to observe conversions. Notino, an ecommerce beauty platform, says data-driven attribution in Google Analytics 4 is essential to its measurement strategy.

We have seen benefits with using a data-driven attribution model compared to last click and have rolled it out as a standard for 23 of our markets. We are now excited to use the next generation of attribution reporting in Google Analytics 4. Matěj Slavík
Head of Performance Marketing, Notino

Data-driven attribution will be available in attribution reports in the coming weeks. It will be available at the property level soon after, at which time you’ll be able to see attributed revenue and conversions in the Conversions report and in Explorations.

Address measurement gaps with Google’s machine learning

Using Google’s advanced modeling technology, the new Google Analytics allows you to fill gaps in your understanding of customer behavior when cookies and other identifiers aren’t available. It analyzes vast amounts of historical data, identifies correlations and trends between key data points, and uses those insights to make predictions about the customer journey.

We’re bringing a few new modeling capabilities to Google Analytics 4. First, conversion modeling is now used in attribution reports, the Conversions report, and Explorations to identify where conversions have come from and allocate them to the right Google and non-Google channels, such as Search ads, email, or paid social.

Second, behavioral modeling will soon be supported in reporting. Behavioral modeling uses rigorously tested and validated machine learning to fill gaps in behavioral data, like daily active users or average revenue per user. This allows you to conduct uninterrupted measurement across devices and platforms, and answer questions like, “How many new users did I acquire from my last campaign?” or “Which steps in my funnel have the highest user drop-off rates?”

Meet your marketing objectives

Customers are seeing success using the new Google Analytics to help achieve key marketing objectives like generating leads, acquiring new users, and driving online and offline sales. Líder, a grocery retailer owned by Walmart Chile, is driving in-app purchases using predictive metrics and audiences. By marketing to a new “Likely 7-day Purchasers” audience generated by Analytics based on predicted purchase behavior, Líder increased its conversion rate to 5.4% from 0.3% for other audiences, and saw an 85% decrease in overall app campaign CPA.

We’ve seen firsthand the value that the new Analytics has brought to our business and plan on using more new capabilities as they become available in Google Analytics 4 properties. Esteban Bascur Heredia
Manager of Marketing Technology, Walmart Chile

Global beauty brand, L’Oreal, is also using the new Google Analytics to help adapt its measurement foundation for the future, and simplify how the entire organization generates business insights.

Google Analytics 4 democratizes the use of advanced data and analysis, making insights more accessible. The migration has been an opportunity for us to unify media and analytics with a single infrastructure that simplifies decision making. Selim Decoufled
Global Analytics Manager, CDMO, L'Oréal

Now is the time to build the measurement foundation your business needs for the future. We encourage you to make full use of your Google Analytics 4 property and put it at the center of your measurement in place of Universal Analytics.

Get privacy-safe customer insights with Google Analytics

At this year’s Google Marketing Livestream, we shared the latest updates coming to the new Google Analytics, the next generation of Analytics designed for the future of measurement.

Get privacy-safe customer insights using machine learning

With new privacy-safe solutions, Google is helping advertisers preserve marketing measurement while respecting user consent choices. This includes using machine learning to model conversions in Google Ads, so you can continue to optimize performance in a privacy-safe way when observed conversion data is not available.

Later this year, we’ll extend our modeling capabilities to certain reports in Google Analytics 4 properties to enhance your understanding of the customer journey when observed behavioral data is not available. If users don’t consent to analytics cookies, you’ll still be able to generate important customer insights while respecting your users’ privacy preferences.

For example, if there is incomplete data in your User Acquisition report, modeled data (in addition to observed data) will offer a more complete picture of the number of new users your campaigns have acquired.

Easily discover relevant insights

We want to make the new Analytics experience as intuitive to navigate as possible, so you can discover key insights with unprecedented speed and ease.  In a new modular left navigation, we’ve organized important use cases into workspaces that will guide you to the reports, analyses, or data — like advertising conversions — you’re looking for.

Static image of new workspaces in left navigation

New workspaces in left navigation

The new Advertising Workspace is designed to quickly address everyday advertiser needs and unlock deeper insights into your campaign performance. In the snapshot, you can see relevant campaign and performance insights at a glance. You’ll get automated insights notifying you of things like performance spikes in your campaigns, where the majority of your customers are converting from, or what channel is performing the best that week.

With an intuitive and easily accessible home for these insights, you’ll be able to quickly improve campaign performance when you want to make real-time optimizations.

Static of advertising snapshot in the advertising workspace

Advertising Workspace snapshot

Beyond easier navigation, it’s also important to be able to tailor Analytics to the specific needs of your business, and even your role. To allow flexibility, we’re launching an entirely new set of customization options to reporting.

For the first time, within the Reports Workspace, users with admin access will be able to curate the Analytics interface and reports to suit the specific needs of their teams. Admins can make simple edits to existing reports or even create entirely new custom reports. They can also customize the left navigation to group reports into collections, and create custom overviews to highlight information. You can showcase these overviews in the Reports snapshot, the new homepage for the Reports Workspace.

Animated UX of custom reporting options

Custom reporting options

Once admins set up customized reporting preferences for your organization, you can reduce time spent on reporting and surface the most relevant insights faster than ever before.

Better understand the value of your marketing

We know how valuable it is to have attribution reporting for your campaigns directly within Analytics, so we’re bringing new cross-platform attribution capabilities into the Advertising Workspace.

Data-driven attribution models will soon be available in all Google Analytics 4 properties, so you can use Google’s machine learning to understand the contribution of each touchpoint in your marketing funnel, alongside your other customer journey insights. We’ve also introduced two new attribution reports: the Conversion Paths report and Model Comparison report.

Similar to Multi-Channel Funnels in Universal Analytics properties, the Conversion Paths report allows you to view the customer journey by channel, assigning credit to touchpoints from when your customers first arrive to your site or app through conversion, based on a selected attribution model. It also includes a new conversion credit visualization that helps you understand your ROI by channel.

Static UX image of Conversion Paths report in the Advertising Workspace

Conversion Paths report in the Advertising Workspace

The Model Comparison report allows you to assess campaign performance using various attribution models, and compare how each affects the value of your marketing channels so you can determine which model best suits the needs of your business.

Static UX image: Model Comparison report in the Advertising Workspace

Model Comparison report in the Advertising Workspace

Prepare your measurement foundation for the future

The new Google Analytics will help ensure your measurement foundation is reliable and ready to meet the demands of an evolving ecosystem.

Get started with Google Analytics 4 properties today, and stay tuned for more enhancements coming soon.

What’s new in App + Web properties

This July we announceda new property type in Google Analytics that helps you measure across both your app and website in one place. The new App + Web property helps you better understand your customers’ journeys across platforms so you can deliver more unified experiences.

Recently, we’ve introduced enhancements that allow you to measure multiple websites, do even more custom analysis, and get faster insights from your data.

Measure multiple web streams in a single property

App + Web properties now support multiple web streams, including Firebase web apps, in a single property—up to 50 data streams across your apps, websites, and web apps. This allows you to see metrics aggregated across all your related apps and websites, or apply filters to compare them individually. For example, if you were an online retailer with multiple regional stores, you could see your total global sales for the month or compare the sales of each of your regional sites and apps. 

More options for custom analysis

In July we introduced the Analysis module in App + Web properties with five techniques to do cross-platform analysis with more flexibility. Now, we’ve added two more techniques to the mix: cohort analysis and user lifetime, as well as an update to the existing pathing technique and a larger window for historical data.

Cohort analysis helps you compare engagement between groups of similar users with more metric and dimension breakdowns.  For example, you can compare revenue between cohorts of users that were acquired at different times to understand the results of a change in your marketing strategy. 

User lifetime gives you insight into the lifetime activity of a group of users, based on custom dimensions you choose. For example, see how many lifetime in-app purchases were made by users acquired from a holiday promotion you ran.

Backward pathing allows you to work backwards from a conversion or other key event and analyze the differences, trends, or patterns users took to get there. For example, you can start from a purchase event to see how many users that made a purchase entered the funnel from an email campaign to your website, compared to a search ad that deep-links to your app.

Data retention has now expanded to up to 14 months across all techniques within the Analysis module so you can conduct longer term analyses, like year-over-year. Go to data settings in your property admin to increase data retention.

App and web insights at your fingertips

Automated and custom insights, previously available only for web, are now in App + Web properties. 

Automated insights use machine learning to identify key trends and anomalies in your data. For example, if there was an unusual spike in sales yesterday, you will get an alert of the change which you can then investigate. Automated insights get smarter and more relevant to your business over time. 

Custom insights give you the control to tell Analytics what metrics you’d like to be alerted about. For example, if you are a retailer and you’ve just released a new product, you may want to track sales specifically for that SKU.  You can set up a custom insight to alert you if the product’s sales increased by more than 10% week-over-week. These alerts can now be set up to run hourly, and you can receive email notifications within 5 minutes of a triggered alert.

Instant answers with search

When looking for specific insights in your Web properties you can simply ask a question in the search bar and get a quick answer. Today, we are extending this to App + Web properties, so you can ask questions and get holistic answers across your app and web data. 

Ask questions using keywords, such as “users from organic channel last week,” and a relevant answer will appear in the search dropdown. Be specific about the metric, dimension, and time frame to get the best results.

Automated and custom insights, as well as instant answers from the search dropdown, are available in App + Web properties today in English and will soon be available in all languages supported by Google Analytics. 

Next steps for App + Web properties

Businesses already see the benefits of bringing more of the customer journey into view. TUI group, a leading integrated tourism group based in Europe, is using App + Web properties to close the gap between their app and web data. 

Previously we had been manually stitching together app and web sessions in order to generate customer behaviour insight and value our marketing investments; this release unifies that data to show the full path to conversion. Dan Truman
Global Head of Digital Analytics, TUI Group

If you’re not already using the beta and your business is looking for a more complete view of how your customers engage across app and web, you can get started today by setting up a new property and linking your app and website.

What’s new in App + Web properties

This July we announceda new property type in Google Analytics that helps you measure across both your app and website in one place. The new App + Web property helps you better understand your customers’ journeys across platforms so you can deliver more unified experiences.

Recently, we’ve introduced enhancements that allow you to measure multiple websites, do even more custom analysis, and get faster insights from your data.

Measure multiple web streams in a single property

App + Web properties now support multiple web streams, including Firebase web apps, in a single property—up to 50 data streams across your apps, websites, and web apps. This allows you to see metrics aggregated across all your related apps and websites, or apply filters to compare them individually. For example, if you were an online retailer with multiple regional stores, you could see your total global sales for the month or compare the sales of each of your regional sites and apps. 

More options for custom analysis

In July we introduced the Analysis module in App + Web properties with five techniques to do cross-platform analysis with more flexibility. Now, we’ve added two more techniques to the mix: cohort analysis and user lifetime, as well as an update to the existing pathing technique and a larger window for historical data. These capabilities will become available over the next few weeks.

Cohort analysis helps you compare engagement between groups of similar users with more metric and dimension breakdowns.  For example, you can compare revenue between cohorts of users that were acquired at different times to understand the results of a change in your marketing strategy. 

User lifetime gives you insight into the lifetime activity of a group of users, based on custom dimensions you choose. For example, see how many lifetime in-app purchases were made by users acquired from a holiday promotion you ran.

Backward pathing allows you to work backwards from a conversion or other key event and analyze the differences, trends, or patterns users took to get there. For example, you can start from a purchase event to see how many users that made a purchase entered the funnel from an email campaign to your website, compared to a search ad that deep-links to your app.

Data retention has now expanded to up to 14 months across all techniques within the Analysis module so you can conduct longer term analyses, like year-over-year. Go to data settings in your property admin to increase data retention.

App and web insights at your fingertips

Automated and custom insights, previously available only for web, are now in App + Web properties. 

Automated insights use machine learning to identify key trends and anomalies in your data. For example, if there was an unusual spike in sales yesterday, you will get an alert of the change which you can then investigate. Automated insights get smarter and more relevant to your business over time. 

Custom insights give you the control to tell Analytics what metrics you’d like to be alerted about. For example, if you are a retailer and you’ve just released a new product, you may want to track sales specifically for that SKU.  You can set up a custom insight to alert you if the product’s sales increased by more than 10% week-over-week. These alerts can now be set up to run hourly, and you can receive email notifications within 5 minutes of a triggered alert.

Instant answers with search

When looking for specific insights in your Web properties you can simply ask a question in the search bar and get a quick answer. Today, we are extending this to App + Web properties, so you can ask questions and get holistic answers across your app and web data. 

Ask questions using keywords, such as “users from organic channel last week,” and a relevant answer will appear in the search dropdown. Be specific about the metric, dimension, and time frame to get the best results.

Automated and custom insights, as well as instant answers from the search dropdown, are available in App + Web properties today in English and will soon be available in all languages supported by Google Analytics. 

Next steps for App + Web properties

Businesses already see the benefits of bringing more of the customer journey into view. TUI group, a leading integrated tourism group based in Europe, is using App + Web properties to close the gap between their app and web data. 

Previously we had been manually stitching together app and web sessions in order to generate customer behaviour insight and value our marketing investments; this release unifies that data to show the full path to conversion. Dan Truman
Global Head of Digital Analytics, TUI Group

If you’re not already using the beta and your business is looking for a more complete view of how your customers engage across app and web, you can get started today by setting up a new property and linking your app and website.

A new way to unify app and website measurement in Google Analytics

People expect to interact with businesses when and how they like, such as browsing a brand's website to research a product and then purchasing it later using the brand's app. Getting insight into these cross-platform journeys is critical for businesses to predict customer needs and provide great experiences—but it can be very challenging.

Currently, many businesses measure app engagement with Google Analytics for Firebase and website engagement with Google Analytics. While each of these products separately offer powerful insights, getting a more unified picture of engagement across your app and website can be a manual and painstaking process. 

To make this simpler, we’re announcing a new way to measure apps and websites together for the first time in Google Analytics.

Unified app and web analytics  

First, we’re introducing a new property type, App + Web, that allows you to combine app and web data for unified reporting and analysis.

Onboarding

 Measure your app and website together in Google Analytics

Reports for this new property use a single set of consistent metrics and dimensions, making it possible to see integrated reporting across app and web like never before. Now you can answer questions like: Which marketing channel is responsible for acquiring the most new users across your different platforms? How many total unique users do you have, regardless of which platform they use? How many conversions have occurred on your app and website in the last week—and which platform is driving most of these conversions?

User Overview

See combined metrics across your app and website

You can also go deeper to understand the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns across platforms. For example, you can see how many users started on your app then visited your website to make a purchase.

Flexible event measurement

Understanding how people engage with your app and website means that you need to measure a diverse range of user interactions like clicks, page views, app opens, and more. We’re making it easier to measure those actions on all of your platforms in a consistent way. The new property type utilizes a more flexible event-based model for collecting the unique interactions that users have with your content, allowing you to measure any custom event that you set up. 

This event-based model also allows you to automate the manual work of tagging some of the events on your site with no additional coding required. In addition to page views, enhanced measurement allows you to measure many common web events like scrolls, downloads, video views and more with the flip of a toggle in the admin settings for your property.

Enhanced measurement helps you measure events with the flip of a toggle

Enhanced measurement helps you measure events with the flip of a toggle

Cross-platform analysis

Given the many different ways people interact with your brand between app and web, you need flexible tools to make sense of your data and discover insights unique to your business. The new Analysis module enables you to examine your data in ways that are not limited by pre-defined reports.

There are a number of techniques you can use including: 

  • Exploration: Conduct ad-hoc analysis by dragging and dropping multiple variables—the different segments, dimensions, and metrics you use to measure your business—onto a canvas to see instant visualizations of yourdata.

The Exploration technique allows you to visualize your data with drag and drop ease

The Exploration technique allows you to visualize your data with drag and drop ease

  • Funnels: Identify important steps to conversion and understand how users navigate among them—where they enter the funnel, as well as where they drop off—with both open and closed funnel options

Understand how users engage with a sequences of key events on your app and website using the Funnels technique

Understand how users engage with a sequence of key events on your app and website using the Funnels technique

  • Path analysis: Understand the actions users take between the steps within a funnel to help explain why users did or did not convert.

Visualize actions taken on the users’ path to conversion with the Path analysis technique

Visualize actions taken on the users’ path to conversion with the Path analysis technique

Once you’ve surfaced insights from your analysis, you can use the results to create audiences and use those audiences to deliver more relevant marketing experiences to your customers. 

Start measuring across platforms

The first version of this new app and web experience—including the new event model and new analysis capabilities—will be available to all Analytics and Analytics 360 accounts in beta in the coming weeks. If you use Google Tag Manager or the global site tag for Google Analytics today, there’s no re-tagging required for your website. To include your app data, you’ll need the Firebase SDK implemented in your app. See how to get started in Google Analytics, or if you’re an existing Firebase customer, here’s how to upgrade.

If your business has both an app and website, and is looking for a more complete view of how your customers engage across both, we encourage you to participate in this beta and share your feedback. We are working to make Google Analytics the best possible solution for helping you understand the customer journey and create great customer experiences across platforms. Your partnership is essential to help us get there.