Case Study: Storing Google Analytics Data Within The European Union or Locally

Store Google Analytics Data Within European Union or Locally

With the help from Reflective Data and using their custom data pipeline for Google Analytics, we were able to avoid sending data to Google Analytics, store everything within the EU and still benefit from the rich and actionable dataset you get with Google Analytics.

Aaron, Chief Data Officer

Data protection and privacy rules are getting tougher all over the world. This is especially true for the European Union and even more so for some specific industries. Including finance, medical and others that handle sensitive information about their users.

While Google Analytics has been making some improvements in the privacy area and is GDPR compliant, this is not enough for many businesses and industries.

At Reflective Data, we’re often working with companies that are under close monitoring of their regulators. To help them out, we’ve built custom solutions that allow storing Google Analytics data within the European Union or sometimes even completely locally, on the servers of our client.

The challenge

Do we want it or not, the regulations for collecting, processing and storing data are getting stiffer each year. European Union, with rules like GDPR, is a trendsetter in data protection.

While it’s good from a customers’ perspective, following all those rules and regulations can be quite a challenge for businesses that have to follow them. Especially, as new rules are introduced and the penalties for not following them can reach millions.

More often than not, the regulations are being launched faster than companies can adopt. Even if the company themselves are doing everything right, it’s likely that some third-party software they’re using is lacking behind.

At Reflective Data, we have been contacted by numerous companies that, for a reason or another, aren’t able to use Google Analytics but would still require a similar dataset and comparable functionality. Let’s be honest, Google Analytics and its Universal Analytics data model is still one of the best ones available for marketing attribution and website user behavior analysis.

Yes, Google Analytics 4 will be the future of tracking but it’s nowhere near being ready for production for most businesses due to lacking several critical features.

The solution

One of our most popular tools is the Parallel Tracking for Google Analytics. It’s a system that allows sending raw hit-level Google Analytics data into a data warehouse. Most commonly, our clients choose this solution for the following reasons.

  • They hit the 10M/hits/mo limit
  • Problems with data sampling
  • Looking for alternatives for Google Analytics 360
  • Need access to raw hit-level data

These are all nice features that our clients love but there’s one more – Parallel Tracking can work without sending data to Google Analytics at all. This is thanks to how our technology was built. Instead of pulling data from Google Analytics using the Reporting API (as many solutions do), we are duplicating all hits that are sent to Google’s data processing endpoint and sending them to our engine as well. This means, with a simple tracking code modification, we can disable hits being sent to Google Analytics.

Our data processing engine works very similarly to what’s happening in Google Analytics. Hits are processed and enriched using the same methodology and sessions are processed just like in Google Analytics.

Ultimately, this means you’ll get the best from both worlds. The rich and actionable dataset of Google Analytics and full ownership of your data. So, whatever regulations apply to how you can store this kind of data, now you have a solution to comply with them.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why you’d want to use Google Analytics as your analytics platform. Including the rich data model that works for both marketing attribution and user behavior analysis, (almost) unlimited amount of resources, great community, ease of finding people that can work with this model and more.

If, for some reason, you can’t use Google Analytics. Could be because they’re storing data outside of the EU or that you need to store everything locally. Then we have a solution for you!

For details and contact information, check out the product page for Parallel Tracking.

Ending with another quote from a customer here.

Before joining the financial institution that I’m currently working for, I had been a marketing director for various e-commerce companies. This meant that I was really used to tools like Google Analytics. Now, working in finance, I learned that using Google Analytics was not an option due to several regulations and we had to store all data locally on our own servers.

We had some kind of an in-house solution but that was nowhere near the capabilites and functionality I was used to. I was really lucky to learn about Reflective Data and their Parallel Tracking solution! They were really helpful, worked closely with our team to learn about our needs and finally built a solution that exceeded our expectations. 10/10 would recommend to anyone that for some reason isn’t allowed to use Google Analytics.

Michelle, Director of Online Marketing, Frankfurt

It’s feedback like this that makes us love the work we do even more! Get in touch and learn how we can help you, too.

For more case studies, see here.

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