It’s hard to deny that the common theme for Google over the past year has been change and it does not seem like this is stopping anytime soon. If you have a website or do marketing research or both, you know that Google Analytics is a foundation in data tracking. Google’s most significant change for marketers has been the analytics update from Universal Analytics, also known as UA, to Google Analytics 4 or GA4 as a response to the need to collect first party data after the end of cookies.
“GA4 will start reducing this reliance on cookies to record certain events across platforms/devices by using machine learning to ‘fill in the gaps’ where user consent is not given for tracking, making it more stable to industry changes and preventing future gaps in your data” (Feeny, The Drum).
Seems like this change will be helpful then right? Although Google is trying to help make up for the gap in first party data, it still has to abide by the privacy regulations so Google Analytics will not log or store IP address information after this update goes into effect. IP addresses are the elaborate and unique combination of letters and numbers that are connected to your device and digitally pin you to your location, hence the tracking. It may seem creepy but really it’s more for demographic purposes.
GA4 was built with anonymized IP addresses as a temporary solution to the privacy laws but the update is part of Google’s plans to eventually just get rid of them all together with. But you know the saying, you can’t please everyone and it seems like marketers and data analysts are on the losing end of that. In reality, first party data and privacy changes are not made to help the user feel more secure because there are a million ways companies can get your data nowadays if they really want it. Like the watch you’re wearing right now or literally any device in your home is tracking your data as you read this so it’s really more about who is in control of this data.
Also, the update is not happening seamlessly. Just like how you have to manually update your phone every time Apple releases a new version, this update is just Google telling data analysts and marketing teams that they need to update their website’s analytics before July 2023. It is recommended you do this as soon as possible so your website data stays accurate and KMJ’s marketing team can do this for you if you don’t want to have to worry about it so be sure to give us a call.
Hercher, James. “Google Analytics to Stop Logging IP Addresses and Sunset Old Versions in Privacy Standards Overhaul.” AdExchanger, 16 Mar. 2022, https://www.adexchanger.com/online-advertising/google-analytics-to-stop-logging-ip-addresses-and-sunset-old-versions-in-privacy-standards-overhaul/?utm_campaign=mkb&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_source=morning_brew.
Feeney, Claire. “GA4: The Future of Google Analytics.” The Drum, The Drum Network, 4 Feb. 2021, https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2021/02/04/ga4-the-future-google-analytics#:~:text=GA4%20is%20the%20new%20name,account%20will%20not%20be%20affected.