Since the rollout of Google Analytics 4, we've seen conversion tracking issues impacting ad spend ROI. This can be resolved through Google's Consent Mode and Enhanced Conversions.

Unlike Universal Analytics, which offered a complete package, Google Analytics 4 is a continually evolving product. As evidenced by the extensive list of 2024 releases on the What’s New in Google Analytics page.

Two significant updates among these recent changes are Consent Mode and Enhanced Conversions

These changes have posed challenges for some companies in their GA4 implementation when not configured correctly. Leading to blind spots in the performance of paid media and critically affecting their return on ad spend!

So, what exactly are Consent Mode and Enhanced Conversions, and why are they important for accurate conversion data?

Reviewing analytics  figures for conversion data accuracyConsent Mode

Consent Mode helps businesses respect user privacy preferences while still gathering useful data. It is specific to Google’s technologies, including Google Analytics, Google Ads, and their remarketing services. It allows you to send additional signals to Google about how visitors have consented to analytics and advertising use of their data.

Based on the consent provided, these signals adjust how Google's technology (e.g., Google Tags) functions.

Key Points

Purpose:

  • Gathers more data using data modelling alongside first-party consented data.
  • Improves data quality, insights, and returns on paid media.

Implementation:

  • Requires changes in Consent Management Software (e.g., OneTrust), Tag Management Software (e.g., Google Tag Manager), or your website.
  • Ensures compliant data transmission and accurate data collection.

Impact on Privacy:

  • Sending anonymised, unconsented data changes traditional consent banner behaviour.
  • Necessitates updates to privacy practices and statements to maintain compliance and user trust.

Enhanced Conversions

Enhanced Conversions improve the accuracy of tracking users' actions after interacting with ads, especially with limited data. Google's analytics and advertising ecosystems have traditionally relied on third-party cookies, which will be phased out with the deprecation of third-party cookies in Google Chrome. The replacement is the Google Privacy Sandbox Initiative, which facilitates online advertising by sharing a subset of users’ private information without third-party cookies.

This initiative helps businesses understand ad effectiveness without third-party cookies, enabling better advertising optimisation and customer experience.

Key Points

Purpose:

  • Improves conversion measurement and demographic/interest reporting in Google Analytics 4.
  • Enhances conversion accuracy and bid optimisation in Google Ads.

Implementation:

  • Dependent on Consent Mode signals.
  • Requires configuration in Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Tag Management Software for correct data collection.

Impact on Privacy:

  • User-provided data settings are semi-enabled in Google Analytics 4.
  • Collects personal data about visitors, which cannot be deleted like third-party cookies.
  • Mismanagement can erode user trust due to a lack of transparency compared to cookies.

What Should Businesses Do Now?

To ensure compliance and optimise your data practices, businesses should take the following steps...

Review Tracking Setups:

  • Identify opportunities for integrating Enhanced Conversions.
  • Collaborate with web developers to ensure accurate capture and transmission of first-party data.

Evaluate Consent Management Practices:

  • Align your practices with Consent Mode requirements.
  • Update consent banners or dialogues to capture and respect user choices accurately.

Conduct Thorough Testing:

  • Assess the impact of these changes on campaign performance.
  • Use A/B testing to identify the most effective strategies under the new system.

Time for a Data Health Check?

Google's recent changes, including Consent Mode and Enhanced Conversions, pose risks to data collection practices, data integrity, privacy compliance, and user trust if not implemented correctly.

If you are facing these challenges or are unsure where to start, contact us at Mando. We can help you optimise your Google implementations and move forward confidently with data-driven decision-making.

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