How Google Is Building the Future of Measurement for the Industry

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By Allan Thygesen

Today, 80% of people in surveyed countries are concerned about the state of their online privacy.1 In turn, regulators and tech platforms have restricted techniques — such as device IDs and third-party cookies — that advertisers have relied on for decades to reach audiences and measure results. The advertising industry needs to innovate and collaborate to meet people’s expectations for privacy and help businesses grow sustainably.

That’s why Google has partnered with many of you to develop new privacy-centric solutions that support your marketing objectives while keeping people’s information safe. We’ve found that the best strategy to achieve this requires three core actions:

1. Deepening customer relationships with the help of consented first-party data
2. Embracing automation grounded in accurate models
3. Using new technologies that don’t track people across the internet

Deepening customer relationships with consented first-party data

Building meaningful customer relationships requires you to first earn people’s trust. This requires, among other things, helping your customers understand and choose how their data is used. Ninety-one percent of consumers in surveyed countries say that it is important for brands to be transparent about the data they collect about their customers,2 and thus we all need to more clearly communicate what data is gathered and why, and how we keep that information safe.

We’ve also innovated with our ads and measurement platforms to help you strengthen your foundation of durable, consented first-party data and to make the most of your customer interactions at scale. For advertisers, the new Google tag powers measurement and informs other privacy-safe solutions such as Google Analytics 4, which helps you gain insights faster than ever before and even predict future outcomes. And, for marketers operating in the European Economic Area and the U.K., Consent Mode offers greater insight into conversion data while automatically adjusting tags based on user consent choices.

Embracing automation grounded in accurate models

Even with a solid foundation of consented first-party data, less observable data may lead to gaps in the customer journey. Among digital media professionals, 85% say cookie loss and accurate measurement are two of their top challenges. That’s where automation can help.

Innovations in conversion modeling can help us solve for unknowns in the customer journey in a privacy-safe way.

For years, advertisers have relied on machine learning to model conversion rates when there’s a gap in available data between an ad interaction and conversion, such as in online-to-offline transactions. Today, innovations in conversion modeling can also help us solve for unknowns in the customer journey in a privacy-safe way by using machine learning, underpinned by user-provided data. Privacy-centric modeling already powers many Google ads and measurement solutions, such as attribution and reach and frequency, to help you access the insights you need and drive better results.

And we are always working to give you increasingly accurate and actionable insights by strengthening our models. For example, we’ve increased our browser coverage and added new model types to enhance your view of the customer journey. We’ve also deepened our investments in model quality and accuracy to help you attribute a higher percentage of conversions that would otherwise remain unknown.

Recently, we’ve started recruiting participants for our Online Insights Study. This panel is built on direct and trusted relationships between Google and U.S. consumers who opt in. Transparency and control are cornerstones of our panels. We ensure that people know how their data will be used and protected so they can make informed decisions about whether to join the panel or continue their participation over time. Moreover, we will not use their information for ads targeting. Instead, the data will be used strictly to validate that our measurement solutions are effective.

Using new technologies that don’t track people across the internet

As the privacy landscape continues to evolve, the industry needs new technologies that will improve privacy for users, while continuing to give you the insights and tools you need to grow your business. We don’t believe that substituting third-party cookies with covert tracking mechanisms or other cross-site identifiers will meet users’ or regulators’ evolving privacy expectations. And completely blocking third-party cookies without also providing suitable alternatives can lead to the rise of opaque practices such as fingerprinting.

More than ever before, our industry needs innovation and collaboration to protect the tools and insights that businesses need to grow.

That’s why Chrome and Android are working with the industry to build the Privacy Sandbox. The goal is to support the key marketing use cases you rely on — such as reaching the right audiences based on their interestsreengaging people who have visited your site, and attributing the source and success of the ads you run — without tracking users across websites and apps.

We’ll soon begin testing Privacy Sandbox APIs in Google Ads and Display & Video 360 with more global partners to help you privately and effectively reach audiences that might be interested in your business. We will incorporate your feedback and share our findings through various rounds of testing, before rolling out our solutions in general availability.

More than ever before, our industry needs innovation and collaboration to protect the tools and insights that businesses need to grow. Although we can’t predict what the future will look like, we can invest in modeling solutions and new privacy-preserving technologies that embrace consented first-party data. These initiatives will help you measure what matters and achieve better business results. If we come together to protect privacy and continue to build the future of our industry, then together we can help preserve measurement for everyone.

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