Google Analytics 4 adds new features to improve data security and report accuracy

Google Analytics 4 has rolled out two new features to help improve data security and reporting accuracy.

The new capabilities, which are available in GA4 now, enable marketers to redact client-side text and exclude Google data signals from reports and explorations.

Data redaction. This new feature is designed to help minimize the risk of unintentionally transmitting Personally Identifiable Information (PII). On GA4, you can now set up your web data streams to execute client-side text redaction on email addresses and user-defined URL Query Parameters. Email redaction is automatically enabled by default for new web data streams.

Why we care. Adopting tools to address the mishandling of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is crucial for advertisers as it can mitigate legal repercussions, safeguard reputation, and preserve customer trust.

Excluding Google signals from reports and explorations. GA4 now has the ability to enable advertisers to exclude certain demographic and interest data from reports, particularly data from signed-in, consented users. If you’ve enabled Google Signals for your property, simply disable “Include Google Signals in Reporting Identity” on the Admin’s Data Collection page.

Turning this option off helps to minimize data thresholding if your property uses Belnded or Observed reporting identity. However, even with this option off, GA4 can still gather Google Signals data, allowing you to use it in audiences and conversions. Additionally, you can share this data with linked Google Ads accounts for re-marketing and bid optimization.

Why we care. This tool can help improve the accuracy of reporting, allowing advertisers to better understand user behavior, preferences, and interactions, leading to improved audience targeting and increased conversion rates. In addition, the ability to then share this data with linked Google Ads accounts enables advertisers to enhance remarketing efforts and optimize bids, ultimately improving the overall performance and return on investment of their advertising strategies.

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What has Google said? A Google spokesperson said in a statement:

  • “It’s important to remember that while data redaction provides a powerful tool against inadvertently collecting PII, the ultimate responsibility for meeting regulatory requirements still lies with the entity collecting data.”
  • “To further help you meet that responsibility, this feature lets you test your configuration to understand whether the text patterns you identify are redacted as expected.”

Deep dive. Read Google’s Data Redaction or Google signals guidelines for more information.

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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