3 New Privacy and Data Regulations That Will Impact Your Marketing Performance

by Kayley Melham on 
February 11, 2024 | 
Digital Marketing Resources
Kayley Melham

As marketers, access to and clarity on user data is vital; How did our customers find us? Which ad did they convert on? How much time did they spend on our website before filling in our contact form?

However, as privacy regulations continue to ramp up in a bid to grant users more transparency and control over their data, the effects will ultimately affect our ability to track, target, and reach our ideal customers. 

Google and Facebook, in particular, are taking big strides this year to address users’ core privacy concerns, including;

  • Google Consent Mode as a preface to Google Chrome removing the collection of third-party cookies later in 2024.
  • The introduction of Facebook Conversion API (CAPI) to communicate audience behaviour signals without relying on cookies.
  • Using Google Ads Enhanced Conversion tracking to revolutionise your advertising efforts.

Read on to learn about the changes and, most importantly, to stay ahead of the curve so your marketing performance isn’t hindered.

If you need help taking measures to navigate these privacy and data regulations, remember that Rocket can help. Contact our team if you feel stuck. 

Now, let’s dive into the details.

Google Consent Mode: What is it, and how can you set it up?

Google Chrome plans to ramp up third-party cookie restrictions to 100% of users from Q3 2024. Google Consent Mode is a means to prepare us for this shift, by allowing website owners to adjust how data is collected and used, based on a user’s consent preferences regarding cookies and tracking.

Consent Mode

From a data analytics perspective, consent mode enables websites to comply with data privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), by giving users more control over their data.

It involves implementing the following:

  • Conditional tag loading: Loading analytics or tracking scripts only after obtaining user consent.
  • Limited tracking: Implementing limited tracking or restricting the use of certain cookies until the user provides their consent.
  • Customised consent prompts: Providing users with granular options to choose which types of data tracking or analytics they permit.
  • Anonymisation of pseydonymisation: Employing techniques to anonymise or pseudonymise data until user consent is gained.

Note: Pseudonymisation involves processing data without being able to attribute it to a specific person or user without additional information.

Google Consent Mode

Google Consent Mode is an updated version of the original Consent Mode - it allows websites to communicate users' cookie consent choices to Google tags more effectively. It lets your website run all its Google services, such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Ads based on the consent state of your end-users.

From March 2024, Google Consent Mode will be mandatory for all websites that use Google Analytics 4, Google Ads or Floodlight (DoubleClick) tracking pixels on their website and apps. Failure to comply will result in a breach of Google’s user consent policy which may result in your Google accounts being disabled or terminated. We highly recommend you take this seriously.

Here are the following consent types that you need to set up:

  • ad_storage: Controls whether cookies or device identifiers related to advertising can be stored and read. Affects Google tags and SDKs for Ads, Floodlight, and Analytics.
  • ad_user_data: Controls whether user data can be sent to Google for online advertising purposes. Specifically affects Google tags and SDKs for Ads.
  • ad_personalisation: Controls whether data can be used to personalise ads, such as for remarketing. Affects Google tags and SDKs for Ads.
  • analytics_storage: Controls whether cookies or device identifiers related to analytics can be stored and read. Affects Google tags and SDKs for Analytics, as well as some third-party analytics tags.

In short, if you have the Google Analytics 4, Google Ads or Floodlight (DoubleClick) tracking pixels, and have any visitors from the EU or California in the past twelve months, you technically need to ask those users for permission before tracking them on your website, and in turn, should implement a Consent Management Platform (CMP) and Consent Mode.

What will happen if you don’t implement consent mode?

  • You will experience data collection limitations: Without proper consent management, there might be restrictions or limitations on the data that can be collected from users who haven't explicitly consented to tracking or data usage. This could lead to gaps or incomplete datasets for analytics and your advertising targeting.
  • You will face compliance risks: Non-compliance with data privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, or other regional laws can lead to legal risks, potential fines, or sanctions. Authorities could penalise websites that fail to obtain proper consent or handle user data without authorisation.
  • There will be an impact on conversions: Unavailability or limitations on data might affect the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Targeting and personalisation often rely on user data. Without comprehensive data, the ability to tailor ads to specific audiences may be compromised, potentially affecting conversion rates and ad performance.
  • You could face ad revenue implications: As marketers, we rely on accurate data to measure the success of our campaigns. Incomplete or limited data may reduce confidence in the effectiveness of ads, potentially impacting spend and revenue generated through advertising partnerships.
  • Your users’ experience will be affected: Users increasingly value privacy and transparency. Failing to respect their consent choices might lead to a negative user experience, eroding trust and potentially leading to users avoiding or abandoning the website.

Facebook Conversion API (CAPI)

Facebook Conversion API (CAPI) is a powerful tool that connects your website's server directly to Facebook's servers. In short, the Conversions API connects your website's data (on your server) to Facebook Ads Manager (on Facebook's server). This connection provides insights into how Facebook users interact with your ads.

The main incentive to implement CAPI is that it typically leads to increased conversions and reduces your cost per lead (CPL), as the improved data accuracy and targeting capabilities contribute to better campaign performance and results.

Here are the main terms you need to know:

  • API: API stands for ‘application programming interface’. It's a connection that allows two applications to communicate with each other; in this case, establishing a connection between your website and Facebook. 
  • Web and Offline events: These are actions taken by people who interact with your Facebook Ads, either on your website (e.g., page views, form submissions) or offline (e.g., phone calls). CAPI captures and sends this data to Facebook. 
  • Your server: This refers to the machine hosting your website and its associated data. It can be your own server or a hosting service like GoDaddy or Bluehost.
  • Facebook's server: Facebook has its own servers, and Ads Manager is hosted on one of them. In this context, "Facebook's server" refers to the machine housing Ads Manager data.

Why should you consider implementing CAPI?

There are several benefits of implementing CAPI in your advertising efforts:

  • Improved data accuracy
    By directly sending web events and customer actions to Facebook, you ensure that your data is accurate and up-to-date, empowering you to make well-informed decisions, and leading to better campaign performance.
  • Enhanced targeting capabilities
    With accurate data, you can target your advertising campaigns more effectively. This means reaching the right audience at the right time with the right message, increasing your conversion rates and return on investment (ROI).
  • Privacy-conscious solution
    The Facebook Conversions API prioritises privacy. It allows you to securely transmit customer data to Facebook without exposing any personal information. 
  • Cross-device tracking
    CAPI enables businesses to track and analyse customer events from various devices and channels. This provides a comprehensive view of customer behaviour and engagement, helping you understand the customer journey and optimise your marketing efforts accordingly.
  • Offline event tracking: CAPI allows tracking and reporting of offline events, such as in-store purchases or phone orders. Integrating offline event data with Facebook's advertising platform helps you measure the impact of online campaigns on offline conversions, leading to more reliable attribution.
  • Robust attribution modelling: CAPI supports advanced attribution modelling, allowing you to attribute conversions and customer actions to specific ad campaigns, ad sets, or even individual ads. This helps you evaluate the performance of your marketing efforts and make better data-informed decisions.

What data does Facebook collect through CAPI?

Typically, the shared data includes information about customer actions on your website or app, such as:

  • Event names: These are the actions users take on your website or app that you want to track, such as "add to cart" or "purchase."
  • User data: This can include data like email addresses or phone numbers that you use to match users to their Facebook profiles.
  • Order data: Details about the purchase, such as order ID, currency, and total value.
  • Content IDs: Unique identifiers for the content that users interact with, such as product IDs or SKUs.

Why should you combine Facebook Pixel and Facebook Conversions API?

  • To have a complete picture of your conversion data
    Facebook Conversions API enables you to capture valuable information that the Facebook Pixel might miss due to factors like ad blockers, iOS 14+, App Tracking Transparency (ATT), and cookies. This includes website events, offline events, and ad data in your CRM. On the other hand, the Facebook Pixel provides insights that CAPI cannot, such as demographic, psychographic, and other behavioral data from across the web.
  • Cookies haven't gone just yet
    While CAPI becomes essential once third-party cookies completely disappear, it's important to note that cookies are still relevant in the meantime. There are still non-iOS users, and not everyone has opted out of app tracking. So, for now, the Facebook Pixel remains valuable in capturing data from these sources.
  • Get more out of your budget
    By using both Facebook Pixel and Conversions API together, you can leverage the most accurate data possible. This allows you to:
    • Understand exactly who is interacting with your ads.
    • Gain deeper insights into the customer journey.
    • Build strong audiences and generate leads on Facebook, even with iOS 14+ limitations.
    • Make data-informed optimisations and allocate your budget effectively.

What are the legal requirements when introducing CAPI?

The main legal considerations include:

  • To obtain user consent: CAPI relies on the FB Pixel. No extra user consent is required. When collecting user data on the Pixel, obtain their consent by informing them about the data being collected and how it will be used. It’s also best to offer users the option to opt out if they don't want their data collected. 
  • PTC compliance: CAPI relies on the FB Pixel, which already treats user consent. CAPI takes all the data about the user from the Pixel, so if user data is not sent through the Pixel, then CAPI won’t capture it. There are also dedicated settings for storing user data in CAPI.
  • GDPR and CCPA compliance: If you operate in the European Union or target EU citizens, you must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Likewise, if you operate in California or target California residents, you must comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This includes obtaining user consent, providing access to user data, and offering the option to erase user data.
  • Data security: You need to implement appropriate measures to ensure the security of user data, such as encryption, limited access to data, and regular monitoring for data breaches. CAPI data security was jointly developed with Meta, so it follows all the security standards they have for the Pixel already.

Google Ads Enhanced Conversion

The final point to consider is Google Ads enhanced conversion tracking; a privacy-safe method of supplementing your existing conversion tags by sending hashed first-party conversion data from your website to Google. While standard conversion tracking provides valuable insights, Google Ads enhanced conversion tracking takes it a step further.

This data, such as email addresses or phone numbers, is securely hashed using a one-way algorithm, ensuring user privacy while enabling Google to match conversions across devices and browsers.

Key Benefits of Google Ads Enhanced Conversion Tracking

  • Improved Conversion Measurement: Enhanced tracking captures conversions that might otherwise be missed, providing a more accurate picture of your campaign performance.
  • Cross-Device Attribution: It seamlessly matches conversions across devices, giving you a holistic view of your customer journey and attribution across different platforms.
  • Enhanced Bidding Optimisation: With richer conversion data, Google's machine learning algorithms can optimise bids more effectively, leading to improved campaign performance and cost-efficiency.
  • Privacy-Focused Approach: Enhanced tracking prioritises user privacy, employing secure hashing techniques to protect customer data.

What if we don’t want Enhanced Conversion? What will happen?

  • Impact on conversion tracking: Without Enhanced Conversion, campaigns will rely solely on basic conversion tracking tags. This limits the accuracy of conversion measurement, especially for cross-device conversions or when relying on cookie-based tracking. This means you might see discrepancies between ad platform data and internal analytics due to incomplete tracking.
  • Missed automated bidding opportunities: Enhanced Conversion enables access to powerful Smart Bidding strategies like Target CPA or Maximise Conversions. Without it, these strategies will have limited data to work with, potentially leading to suboptimal bidding and campaign performance. 
  • Limited audience insights: Enhanced Conversion unlocks valuable audience insights for ad targeting and remarketing. Without it, audience segmentation and targeting will be based solely on basic conversion data, potentially excluding valuable segments and wasting ad spend. 
  • Future compatibility: Google is moving towards using first-party data and privacy-focused solutions like Enhanced Conversion for ad measurement. Without adopting it, your campaigns might face limitations in the future. Enhanced Conversion remains optional now, relying solely on basic tracking might require additional adjustments or even platform changes in the evolving landscape.

Staying on top of platform regulations and having a solid understanding of core privacy updates is important to maintain and safeguard your future marketing results. e. If anything - data and tracking are only going to become more complex. Falling behind is not only detrimental to your ability to track performance but can hinder the effectiveness of your overall marketing strategy.

Need help with your marketing data and analytics? Get in touch with the digital experts at Rocket.

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Kayley Melham
Marketing Professional | Rocket Agency

Kayley is a marketing professional, specialising in writing insightful and informative copy, organising webinar events, and managing organic social channels. She has also been the producer of the Smarter Marketer Podcast, the definitive podcast for Australian marketers, hosted by Rocket's Co-founder and Director, James Lawrence. 

Kayley has also worked at Fujitsu General Australia, where she ran their Paid Social ad campaigns, worked end-to-end on their national campaign, assisted in their website overhaul project, and supported the execution of several company and external events.

She has also managed organic social media channels for local businesses in both the hospitality and construction space, to build brand awareness in the local community by skyrocketing both followers and engagement. 

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