Updates To Your Sites Privacy Policy When Using Google Analytics And The Type Of Cookies Google Uses

The moment is upon you. You have just convinced your company to start using Google Analytics instead of the server side application your company once used. Did you know that you need to update your site’s privacy policy?
The advertising features activated in Google Analytics are: remarketing, Google Display Impression Reporting, Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reporting and Integrated Services that require Google Analytics to collect data for advertising purposes, including the collection of data via advertising cookies and identifiers.

When you implement Google Analytics or any of Google’s Analytics advertising features on your site, you are required to notify your users of the following:

  • The Google Analytics Advertising features you’ve implemented.
  • How you and third-party vendors use first-party cookies (such as the Google Analytics cookie) or other first-party identifiers, and third-party cookies (such as Google advertising cookies) or other third-party identifiers together.
  • How visitors can opt-out of the Google Analytics Advertising features you use, including through Ads Settings, Ad Settings for mobile apps, or any other available means (for example, the NAI’s consumer opt-out).

You must include a link to their opt out page.
You must also comply with the European Union user consent policy. For more information, please go to the EU User Consent Policy.

The Types of Cookies Google Uses:

Google uses various different types of cookies to run its analytics and advertising products. They are broken down as follows:

Preference Cookies: Preference cookies allow Google to remember how a web site’s structure, navigation or how your preferred language or region may have changed. Preference cookies are labeled as NID cookies. NID cookies have a unique ID, Google uses this to remember your preferences and other information, such as your chosen language (e.g. English), how many search results you like shown on your page (e.g. 10 or 20), and whether or not you wish to have Google’s SafeSearch filters enabled.

Security Cookies: Security cookies are used to authenticate users on your web site, prevent fraud and protect data from authorized users. Security cookies use SID’ and ‘HSID’ values which contain digitally signed and encrypted records of a user’s Google account ID and most recent sign-in time. The combination of these two cookies allows us to block many types of attack, such as attempts to steal the content of forms that you complete on web pages.

Process Cookies: Process cookies help make the web site work and deliver the user around the site. For example, the ‘LBCS’ cookie makes it possible for users to open up documents.

Advertising Cookies: Advertising cookies make advertising more engaging for users and more valuable for publishers. Some examples are:

  • NID and SID to help customize ads on Google properties, like Google Search.
  • ‘id’ or ‘IDE‘,DSID, FLC, AID, TAID, and exchange_uid. are stored in browsers under the domain doubleclick.net on non-Google sites.
  • The Doubleclick product itself uses a cookie named ‘gads’ that is set on a site a user visits.
  • Conversion cookies to track how many time someone clicks on an ad or buys a product.
  • Finally, Google uses cookies called ‘AID‘ and ‘TAID‘ to track device usage.

Session State Cookies: Session state cookies track information on how a user interacts with a web site. Google uses this information to improve a user’s browsing experience.

And last, but not least, the Google Analytics cookies, which helps web site owners track how users engage with their web sites and app properties.

Analytics.js Cookies:

Analytics.js sets the following first party cookies:

Ga.js Cookies

The ga.js library uses the following first party cookies:

Summary

To learn more information on Google Analytics cookie usage, please see “Google Analytics Cookie Usage on Websites”.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to update your site’s privacy policy. Enjoy!

How Can I Learn Google Analytics When I Don’t Have Access To A Functioning Google Analytics Account?

Easy! Back in August of 2016, Google Analytics released a demo account to help people learn and train on the Google Analytics application. The Demo Account is populated with real data from the e-commerce Google Merchandise Store and will include Google Analytics configurations that marketers typically set up in their own accounts, including Goals and Enhanced E-commerce. Users have Read & Analyze access to generate custom reports, alerts and annotations.

To model best practices in Google Analytics set up, Google has set up three views: a Master View, a Test View and a Raw Data View. The Master View or Main View is where you would actually look at the data for business reporting functions. The Test View is used for testing new treatments of data, filters, and special customizations, because you would not want any customizations to impact your business data until you were ready roll it out. In addition, the testing view can be used by your staging server, so you can monitor and QA your GA implementation before you roll out any platform changes. Finally, the raw data view just gives you a set of your raw data should anything happen.

It can be a helpful tool to use along with studying for your GAIQ exam via the iPassExam study course. To sign up for the demo account, you must have a Google account.

The demo account includes the following types of data:

  • Traffic source data including organic traffic, paid search traffic, display traffic, etc.
  • Content data which chronicles the actions of the user on the web site. It includes the URLs of pages that visitors look at, how they interact with content, etc.
  • Transactional data which includes transactions that occur on the Google Merchandise Store website.
    The account also has destination URL, time on site and smart goals set up.

Real-time Reporting

Real-time reporting is enabled in the demo account so you can see the Google Merchandise Store’s activity as it happens.

Enhanced ecommerce is also set up so you can see the shopping behavior and checkout behavior reports:

There are some reports that are not enabled. These are:

  • Audience>Custom>Custom Variables & User Defined Reports
  • Audience>Benchmarking>Channels, Location & Devices
  • Acquisition>Adwords>Display Targeting, Video Campaigns & Shopping
  • Acquisition>Social> Plugins
  • Behavior>Site Speed>User Timings
  • Obviously, the Publisher>Publisher Pages & Publisher Referrer Reports are not set up because this is profile was built on their ecommerce site which sells their merchandise.
  • Behavior>Experiments

The Master View also has some common filters set up like search and replace and Include Hostname. There are also some calculated metrics you can examine, which is also very helpful. There are some segments set up; annotations and shared assets.

The following is not set up in the view administration area:

  • Attribution Models
  • Custom Channel Groupings
  • Custom Alerts
  • Scheduled Emails
  • Shortcuts

Demo Property Set Up:

In the Tracking Info section the Sessions Settings, the User Id, Organic Search Sources and Search Term Exclusion are not set up. The demo property set up is linked to Adwords and Search Console and it is not linked to any other products like Adsense, Ad Exchange, BigQuery, Double Click Bid Manager, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Search, Google Play and Postbacks. Obviously, permissions are not set up for you to access the Audience Definitions area but they do have some custom dimensions set up and a data import feed.

Tips on using the Demo Account with the iPassExam Google Analytics studying resource:

  • Keep the demo account open when you are working through the test prep questions.
  • Try to answer the question yourself first because you will only have 90 minutes for the test when you take it, so you want try to answer the question without having to look at the demo account or any other resource.
  • While it’s great to help you answer questions about the reporting interface, the Google’s help and developer documentation will be the best place to get all the detail you need on all the in-depth topics like configuration, cookies and other areas.

Summary

Keep in mind, the demo account has some limitations. You must have a Google account to sign up for the demo GA account. The demo account cannot be used with the Google reporting API. The link to sign up for the demo account is located in the Google help file on the demo account.

Your iPassExam GA prep course and access to the Google Analytics demo account should give you everything you need to ace that exam! Happy studying!