Enhanced conversion tracking

By the end of 2024, third party cookies will be depreciated by almost all browsers available. GDPR privacy policies are tightening marketer’s hands from collecting private user information and from tracking visitor’s activity across different devices day by day. Now looking into the cookieless times ahead of us, walled gardens like Facebook and Google are resorting to new solutions that allow compliant user data collection. One of the leading ideas is the usage of first party data. A good example of first party data is data attributed to your google account, that you are logged into when browsing websites on Google Chrome. With first party data, regardless of the device that is being used, you will still be recognized as the same user.

What is enhanced conversion tracking

According to Google, enhanced conversions aim to increase and improve the accuracy of your conversion measurements. They add valuable information to your previously set up conversion tags when a visitor completes a conversion (e.g. form submission, purchase, etc..) they will provide first party data like an email address, phone number, or home address. This data can be collected in your conversion tracking tags, hashed securely, and then set to Google for conversion enhancements.  

How does enhanced conversion work?

Let’s take an example of a flow:

  • Mark signed into his google account in Google Chrome and searched for a laptop on Google on his phone. He clicks on a Lenovo Ad and lands on the store’s selling page

  • Mark takes a look at  all the categories and products on the landing page and leaves the website.

  • A few days later, Mark heads back to the selling page on his laptop and purchases a new laptop. When doing so Mark provides first party data such as his home address, email, and phone number.

  • This first party hashed data is sent to Google alongside the conversion tracking tag (after completing a purchase).

  • The hashed data and hashed user are mapped to each other and hence, a profile of Mark is created using first party data alone.

  • The conversion is attributed to the first campaign ad Mark clicked on.

Without the Enhanced Conversion set-up, the conversion most probably would not have been attributed to the ad that Mark clicked on. However, since Google in this case depended on first party data rather than cookies (which differ from one device to another) , the conversion can be correctly and more accurately attributed to Google Ads.

    Privacy and GDPR compliance

    Enhanced Conversions gather PII (Personable identifiable information). The collection of PII is, for obvious reasons, frowned upon in the GDPR compliance realm.
    According to Google, the first party data is hashed and sent securely.
    However, hashed data is definitely not anonymous data, and can be unhashed at later stages.

    If your organisation decides to proceed with enhanced conversions, we recommend that the information mentioned above, should be explicitly stated in the consent banner. This gives visitors full transparency and clarity on what they are consenting to.

    In their official documentation. Google mentions that the usage of this data will be extremely limited, Here is the data limitations they mention:

    Limited data access. Google uses encryption and employee access controls to protect your data from unauthorised access.

    Limited data sharing. Google won’t share your data with other advertisers. Where required, we may share this data to meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request. 

    Data Security. Google is committed to ensuring that the systems we use to store your data remain secure and reliable. We have dedicated security engineering teams to protect against external threats to our systems, and we store all your data in an encrypted format to protect against unauthorised access. 

      Technical Implementation of Enhanced Conversions

      Enhanced Conversions tracking in Google Ads can be set up in two ways : 

      1. Through Google Tag Manager 
      2. Through the Global Site Tag 

        Benefits of setting up enhanced conversion tracking

        To Recap: Once Enhanced Conversion Tracking is set up, first party data of a visitor who completed a conversion, is sent to Google Ads. Google will in turn, use that information and try to match it with its own first party data to properly identify customers through clicks and interactions on Ads (irrespective of the device used).
        It’s likely that this process provides a lot more granular insights on certain metrics and KPIs.

        More reliable and precise conversion data
        Enhanced Conversion tracking will lead to a larger share of conversion data being attributed to Google Ads since first party data will be used in the process.

        Better ROI (return on investment)
        Not only would more conversions be attributed to Google Ads, Enhanced Conversion tracking also allows marketers to improve their evaluation of Ad performance on a granular level. This in turn, will enable you to make more informed data-driven decisions for future campaigns and your business as whole.

        Analysis flexibility
        You can be more flexible and confident in manipulating bids and budgets for your campaigns. When enhanced conversions are paired-up with Google Ads data driven attribution modelling, smart bidding strategies can actually become more beneficial and reliable to use. Ad campaigns will be optimised according to conversion goals more efficiently.


        Closing notes

        Enhanced Conversion tracking is Google’s recent approach to prepare for the future of cookieless tracking. As mentioned earlier, other walled gardens like Facebook (that already has enhanced matching, which basically is the same technology as the one discussed in this article) are also headed towards relying on first party data to provide better insights for the targeting of audiences and optimisation of campaigns. 

        To comply with GDPR privacy policies, Google claims to keep the first party data completely secure and put strict limitations on the use of this data from their end.

        Come talk to us! We are always looking forward to connecting within the industry and offer advice where we can.

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