Enhanced Conversions: Google’s Solution to Increase Privacy

Privacy concerns over personal data are front and center in today’s world. More people are becoming conscious of what companies are doing with their personal data that they collect online. As the world moves towards a more privacy-focused internet, tracking conversions and relevant data have never been more difficult.

Enhanced conversion tracking is Google’s answer to increased privacy measures. Enhanced conversions help advertisers track the performance of their digital marketing in a privacy-safe way that protects first-party user data.

So how do enhanced conversions work? The process uses Google’s hashing algorithm SHA256 to encrypt first-party data and matches this data to signed-in Google accounts to increase the accuracy of conversion tracking. This requires first-party data such as an email address (preferred), phone number, full name, or physical address to be collected on the conversion page.

For example, asking for an email address during the checkout process would fulfill the first-party data requirement.

Using SHA256, Google is able to encrypt the data and store it in the safest way possible. Google then matches this data to a Google account to track the path a customer took to convert.

For example, Joe Smith is signed into his Google account. He comes to your website and makes a conversion (a purchase, fills out a lead form, or other such action). Your conversion tag captures the SHA256 hashed first-party data that Joe provided during the checkout process. The tag securely sends the hashed data to Google. The hashed data from the website is then matched to Google’s database of hashed data. If there’s a successful match between Joe’s hashed data and Google’s data, a conversion will be recorded in Google Ads. 

Why does this matter to you? According to Google, enhanced conversions can help advertisers:

  1. Increase their conversion observability: it does this by recovering lost conversions due to browser and regulatory changes, and it also captures first-party (1P) data.
  2. Deliver better modeling and overall conversion reporting by improving accuracy.
  3. Improve bidding and attribution by giving automated bidding models (like tROAS and tCPA) better data.
  4. Improve performance: early adopters have seen better overall conversion rates, higher ROAS, and lower CPA.

One of the things enhanced conversions can do is allow Google to safely see when someone moves between devices. If Joe did his initial search on his mobile device while signed into his Google account but later completes his conversion on his desktop while signed into his Google account, Google can match up those two visits to have a better understanding of Joe’s journey.

Enhanced conversions have two categories:

  • Enhanced conversion for web
  • Enhanced conversions for leads

Enhanced conversions for the web is for advertisers who want to track online sales, leads, or other events that take place on a website. Enhanced conversions will improve the accuracy of your conversion data, and it will increase the privacy of your consumers. Enabling enhanced conversion requires that an advertiser capture first-party data during the conversion process and pass it to Google. 

Enhanced conversions for the web can be implemented in three ways:

  • Google Tag Manager: Requires slight configuration to your current conversion tags.
  • Global Site Tag: Requires slight configuration to your current conversion tags.
  • Google Ads API: This is an automatic option that Google offers. This requires normal conversion tracking to be set up, first-party data needs to be available, and you need to be in compliance with terms of service and policies in Google Ads.

Enhanced conversions for leads is for advertisers that want to track conversions that happen offline. The enhanced conversion tags are able to hash data and send it directly to your CRM or offline lead management system. The hashed data can be traced back to Google account users and help track conversion actions that took place.

Enhanced conversions for leads can be implemented in two ways:

  • Google Tag Manager: Requires slight configuration to your current conversion tags.
  • The Global Site Tag: Requires slight configuration to your current conversion tags.

Overall, enhanced conversions will help advertisers better track online performance and align with increased privacy measures. Get enhanced conversion tracking set up on your accounts as quickly as possible to avoid missing out on important data.

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