17 May 2024

Privacy safe measurement solutions


In summary

  • The future of advertising and measurement is experiencing a shift in how businesses can measure advertising efforts due restrictions on data collection and usage
  • With data breaches on the rise, users are more reluctant to share information
  • Louder discusses privacy safe solutions that can help build trust in users and allow businesses to continue to measure their advertising efforts

A changing measurement landscape

With increasing concern around user data and privacy, alongside the review of the Australian Privacy Act, users are more wary to share information and businesses are being pushed to be transparent about how customer data is collected and used.

The future of advertising and measurement is already witnessing a shift in how businesses can measure advertising efforts due restrictions on data collection and usage. Building consumer trust will be a key focus to collect data in a useful and transparent exchange to help plug the expanding gaps.

Businesses are shifting their approaches to measurement with the upcoming deprecation of third party cookies on the Chrome browser. This has already happened across Firefox and Safari.

So what does the future of privacy safe measurement mean from a technology stand point, and how can businesses prepare for it? In this article, we go through the key measurement solutions that we’ve been chatting to our clients about.

Global centralised tagging

Using a global tag for all your tagging helps enable ITP mitigation and unlocks compatibility with other advanced measurement solutions. You can either:

  • use the Google tag (gtag.js) on its own or
  • use Google tag with Google Tag Manager.

Google tag (gtag.js)

The Google tag is the foundation for all measurement use-cases. If you currently use Google Ads or Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the product will automatically generate a Google tag for you. The next step is to add the Google tag directly onto your web pages.

This method is straight forward and doesn’t require the set up and management of a tag management system. If you require default metrics, this method can work well for you. You only need to deploy the tag onto your website once and configure the tag settings from each of the Google products.

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a tag management system that allows you to deploy and manage tags on your website without the need to redeploy your website every time you need to make a change.

This option is good for businesses that have more complex needs for tagging, prefer to govern tags from one platform and work with many partners to measure their marketing efforts.

Which method is right for my business?

Both methods described above work across Google’s advertising and analytics products: Google Ads, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, Campaign Manager and Google Analytics however Google Tag Manager has the option to integrate with non-Google products e.g. you can deploy the Meta pixel via Google Tag Manager.

The table below highlights some key differences between a gtag.js and Google Tag Manager. For a more detailed comparison, see Google’s documentation on Tag Manager and the Google Tag.

Direct gtag.js implementation Google Tag Manager
Compatible only with Google marketing tools Compatible with all third-party marketing tools
Straightforward implementation for standard tracking using default metrics Provides functionalities like testing of codes, version control, etc.
For advanced tracking, JavaScript installation is required with no graphical interface For advanced tracking, the interface is user-friendly

Consent mode allows users to indicate their cookie consent status to businesses and advertisers. This allows for a transparent and common understanding between the advertiser and user on how a user’s data is being collected and used from your digital properties.

Consent Mode is mandatory for all websites in Europe and the UK. The advertiser must ask for and obtain cookie consent in order to use Google Analytics, failure to comply with this, may see your account suspended. Cookie consent must be obtained prior to loading of cookies or other trackers.

This is not the case yet in Australia but given the recent privacy rhetoric from the Albanese government, we can anticipate this will be coming to Australia in the near future.

Please note that if you are using a Consent Management Platform such as One Trust, Google Consent Mode can be integrated through your CMP account. Consent Mode helps you to achieve greater insights into your conversion data for advertising and analytics purposes, while respecting user choice when using Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Floodlight tags. 

Read more on why consent mode is important for Australian businesses.

Server-side tagging

The adoption of server-side tagging is becoming a requirement as over the last few years client-side tracking has been failing, and new legislation continues to decrease the reliability of existing client side tagging for data collection.

Business impacts include the speed of the page load decreasing sharply, and problems with security and third-party cookie negation. This is coupled with heavy scripts (which overload the site), unwanted data leakage, low control, and the increase of ad-blockers. 

Server-side tagging involves the transfer of your website tags from the browser (client) to a server environment. There are many benefits to using server-side tags including better management of data collection and improving attribution via conversion APIs.

See server-side tagging with Google Tag Manger (sGTM) for a more detailed understanding and how to of server-side tagging.

Enhanced conversions

Enhanced conversions is a feature that can improve the accuracy of your conversion measurement data and unlock enhanced bidding data. It supplements your existing conversion tags by sending hashed first-party conversion data from your website to Google. Google then matches this data with their database in order to attribute that conversion to a relevant ad placement.

All of the advertising walled gardens have now developed a form of enhanced conversions using an API framework to send more reliable conversion data between the advertisers data server, website platform, app or CRM.

Conversion API frameworks offer the following benefits to the advertiser:

  • Deeper funnel visibility, taking into account more information, such as CRM data, lower funnel events (including qualified leads), and multi-site conversion paths across a website and a physical location.
  • Gives you added control over what data you share in a privacy safe environment
  • More reliable than browser-based methods alone. The API is designed to be less susceptible to issues like a browser crash or connectivity problems, as well as negating cookie-loss that may no longer be captured by the browser pixel.

Read more on Louder’s blog about the details on how enhanced conversions work and why you should use it.

Louder’s recommendation

With a raft of new privacy laws expected to hit Australia in August, coupled with the impending cookie deprecation on Chrome, browser tracking will eventually die, pixels will go away, and data control and accountability will be the new norm. We must adapt and evolve with the modern web or risk being left behind.

Get in touch with Louder to discuss which of the above solutions is relevant to your business as you prepare for the future of data security and measurement.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be covering how the above frameworks address measurement across channels and how the use of AI will feed into conversion modelling to bridge some of the gaps that cookie deprecation poses.

About Candice Driver

Candice is Agency and Client Lead at Louder. In her spare time you will find her hanging out with her dog Lilly, socialising with friends, and hitting trendy bars and restaurants.