GDPR, short for General Data Protection Regulation is something you can’t ignore if you do business in the European Union or even if your website has users from the EU.
Recently, several European countries, including Austria, France, Italy, and Denmark have declared the use of Google Analytics illegal. That is, even if you asked for the consent of your website visitors.
The debate over Google Analytics (including GA4) being illegal in certain countries or not continues but considering the fines can reach millions, it is certainly better to be cautious.
Here at Reflective Data, we work with a lot of businesses that rely heavily on Google Analytics data to make marketing and product-related decisions. Simply removing GA4 from the site for all visitors coming from a country that has declared it illegal isn’t a choice they want to make. Paying a huge fine is even less so.
Therefore, we’ve worked hard on a workaround that would yield a dataset and user experience that closely resembles what you get with GA4 itself. And we succeeded!
Here’s how we keep GA4 GDPR compliant
In short, for traffic coming from the EU, we skip the the step where GA4 tracker sends data to GA4 servers. Instead, we process this data within the EU (just like GA4 does on their servers) and send it straight into a BigQuery dataset located within the EU.
In the background, this solution uses our Parallel Tracking product. The main use case, besides being able to make GA4 GDPR compliant, is to circumvent the 1 million events BigQuery export limit seen in the free version of GA4. You can read more about this use case in another article. Hundreds of businesses across the world are using Parallel Tracking to track billions of events every month.
Getting started is really simple. Below is a quick step-by-step guide for making your GA4 implementation fully GDPR compliant.
1. Get a free consultation with Reflective Data’s expert
Get in touch with Reflective Data to schedule a free consultation session with one of our data experts. This is the best way to determine if Parallel Tracking is the right solution for you.
2. Implement Parallel Tracking
The exact setup depends on how GA4 is implemented on your site but in most cases, the setup involves adding one new tag in Google Tag Manager or a small tracking code modification to your gtag.js snippet.
Reflective Data offers free implementation support with all plans. Most clients have the system up and running in less than one week.
No need to change your existing GA4 tags, all events will continue working as expected. No double tagging is required either, Parallel Tracking uses your existing GA4 tags.
3. See data flowing into your BigQuery dataset
As mentioned above, Parallel Tracking provides a solution that skips sending data from the EU into the US. Instead, it will process this data within the EU and stores it in your BigQuery dataset located in the EU. This ensures full GDPR compliance.
More and more countries are introducing and starting to enforce their data privacy regulations, including GDPR in the EU. This means that anyone doing business or having website visitors from those countries needs to comply with the local rules to avoid fines.
To make being GDPR compliant as painless as possible, Reflective Data has built a solution that lets you continue using your existing GA4 setup while not sending data from the EU into the US.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.