How to use Google Analytics and still be GDPR compliant

Google Analytics is the most popular tool when it comes to gathering insights and data on how your visitors interact with your website. But is Google Analytics GDPR compliant? And how can you as a website owner process your visitors’ data in analytics and still protect their privacy? Read this article to find out.

Who does the GDPR apply to?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to all website owners who have users from inside the EU – at least if you want to use Google Analytics, cookies and other tracking technologies on your website to process personal data from individuals inside the EU.

Examples of personal data in Google Analytics

There are some personal data that you are might not aware of in Google Analytics.

One of them is IP-addresses, which can sometimes be personal identifiable. In this case, you can add a function called “anonymise IP” to avoid this.

Another example of personal data in Google Analytics is personal data in URLs like an email-address. A way to avoid this, is to exclude URLs containing a @.

Finally, you should be aware of external data sources which are incorporated in Google Analytics. This could for example be an email-marketing platform where the user’s personal email-addresses are used as an identification key. Therefore, whenever external data sources are to be incorporated in Google Analytics, make sure not to bring over personally identifiable information too.

Google Consent Mode

If you want to make sure that your Google Analytics is GDPR compliant on your website, Google Consent Mode is the perfect tool.

Google Consent Mode is a way of tracking conversions and gaining analytics insights while still being completely GDPR compliant. This way, you can use Google Analytics, Google Ads and Google Tag Manger and still protect your user’s personal data. Furthermore, you avoid big fines for not respecting the GDPR.

Google Consent Mode is based on the consent state of your end-users, which according to the GDPR, you as a website owner are responsible for obtaining.

How does Google Consent Mode work with Google Analytics?

Google Consent Mode works through the tag-setting “analytics_storage” which controls the behaviour of the statistics-cookies on your website, based on the consent state of your end-users. This way, it makes sure that Google Analytics adjusts the data collection based on the individual user’s consent.

Bridges the gap between digital privacy and online marketing

Google Consent Mode helps bridging the gap between digital privacy of the users and online marketing. Previously, it has not been easy to protect users from misuse of their personal data and violations of their privacy, while at the same time securing data to optimise websites and also benefitting from online ads.

But it is in all’s best interests to find and strike the happy medium between digital privacy and online marketing. It is not only a matter of how businesses can earn more money; it is also about how to give the visitor’s the best possible online experience.

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