Google rolls out privacy update, new ML features for Google Analytics


Google on Thursday released an update for its measurement and analytics products, including a significant privacy update for Google Analytics. The company said the new capabilities stem from its investments in machine learning and modeling and are designed to help marketers operate without cookies and other identifiers on websites and apps.

In October, Google rolled out what it said was the biggest overhaul of Google Analytics in nearly a decade. The revamp ushered in new machine learning capabilities, unified app and web reporting, native integrations and privacy updates. 

This latest update builds on last year’s overhaul, with features aimed at helping the marketing industry evolve to new privacy expectations and shifts in consumer behavior. 

On the privacy front, Google said it will soon extend its advanced machine learning models to behavioral reporting in Analytics. For example, in User Acquisition reports, machine learning models will be able to fill any gaps in the numbers of new users a campaign has acquired. The idea is to enable marketers to track customer journeys without relying on cookies.

Google also said it has developed an additional privacy-minded way to help preserve accurate conversion measurement when cookies aren’t available. The company’s new enhanced conversions allow tags to use consented, first-party data to generate insights related to performance, like conversion lift, and to improve measurement in cases where an ad is viewed on one device and clicked through on another. Google said the data is hashed to guard user privacy and security. 

“Now’s the time to adopt new privacy-safe techniques to ensure your measurement remains accurate and actionable,” said Vidhya Srinivasan, VP of Engineering for Google Ads. “And while this can seem daunting, we’re here to help you succeed in a world with fewer cookies and other identifiers with new ways to respect user consent, measure conversions and unlock granular insights from your sites and apps.”

Google Analytics has been the industry standard web analytics tool since 2005. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up for and use the standard version of Google Analytics, which is ideal for individuals or small businesses. Larger enterprises can utilize Google Analytics 360, the premium version. 

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