Huge Change In How Google Analytics Now Tracks Your Websites Visitors

How GDPR and The ePrivacy Directive Affect AdWords & Analytics Tracking

Most internet users will now be aware of the implications regarding spam emails, selling identifiable data, marketing to you without permission etc. GDPR has been widely publicised and whilst no-one seems to know the exact ‘black and white’ of GDPR compliance there is another piece of legislation to consider. The ePrivacy Directive.

google analytics gdpr results

Between GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive (not to be confused with the proposed ePrivacy Regulation which is currently under discussion). These policies cover ‘EU user consent’ and are based around the need to gain consent to track users on-site behaviour and tailor ads to them. Many sites now have up-to-date cookie policies active which allow users to opt-in and accept their use or if they do not accept then you commit to not tracking that user on your website if you follow this then you are likely already compliant. It’s worth noting that in cases where consent is required it must be ‘explicit’ and not ‘implied’ (you cannot just have a cookie policy which states ‘you agree to cookies unless you opt-out’).

If you don’t have an up-to-date cookie policy or if you are unsure as to the guidelines where on-site tracking is concerned please see below:

  • Need an up-to-date cookie policy? is a great resource provided by Google which helps publishers and advertisers with online consent. There is also a handy tool here which checks your website’s use of cookies and if it’s compliant with GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive.
  • Track conversions using an AdWords tracking tag? Advertisers are required to obtain legally-valid consent for personalised ads and use of cookies or mobile identifiers (e.g iOS IDFA and Android AdiD) from end users in the EEA (European Economic Area) who visit their properties (websites). This includes the use of remarketing, conversion tracking and customer match. If you already run an up-to-date legally-valid cookie policy on-site then you should be covered here.
  • Use Google Analytics code on-site? The EU User Consent Policy applies for all Google Analytics advertising features so explicit consent will be required unless advertising features are turned off in Google Analytics and the code is tweaked to anonymise users IP addresses. Turning these features off will prevent any remarketing audiences and demographic data being collected. As many AdWords display/remarketing campaigns make use of these audience lists you could see that these campaigns cease to work.
  • AdWords and Analytics performance poor? The unfortunate side-effect of requiring explicit consent to track conversions, user data for remarketing features etc. Means that some of the performance data we had available in the past is no longer collected. It is unlikely 100% of users to your site will opt-in and thus that data will not be tracked.


The information found in this blog is purely informational and does not constitute official advice from Mabo on the matters of data protection and online privacy.

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