Google Analytics + GDPR2

Google Analytics + GDPR | Three Steps to Get Ready

written by Julie Cohn

For most bloggers, Google Analytics (GA) is the name of the game when it comes to monitoring traffic and pageviews.  It is our life force to working with brands and influencer networks.  As much as we hate it, we love it when those numbers are good, and we do everything we can to make sure they are good.  What about Google Analytics + GDPR?  Do you have your Google Analytics set up to comply with the regulations, yet still allow you to capture those golden page views?  Here are a few tips for setting up your Google Analytics account to comply with GDPR and run business as usual.

Google Analytics + GDPR

The basic premise of GDPR is to protect the data you collect on your readers and subscribers, and Google Analytics is one of the tools you use to collect data.  For those of us who are armpit deep in the whole process of compliance, GDPR can be overwhelming…particularly how this will affect our business in the long run.  Just when you think you’ve got a handle on being compliant, another requirement comes along to muck everything up.  #$@&%*!!

  • Your privacy policy is done  √
  • Your cookie policy is done √
  • Your re-subscription email is done √
  • Your Cookie Opt-In Popup is done √

Wait…the cookie opt-in popup blocks cookies? Aren’t some of those cookies my Google Analytics?  Wait…my Google Analytics?  MY GOOGLE ANALYTICS?!?!?

Don’t panic.  Grab a paper bag, fire up the laptop, and in ten minutes, your precious GA will be back to doing what it is supposed to do, all while being GDPR compliant.

GDPR for Bloggers6

Step One: Data Processing Agreement

  • Sign into Google Analytics.
  • Go to your administrator panel (the ⚙)
  • Got to Account Settings (under first panel)
  • Scroll down this page and a data processing agreement will be toward the bottom.
  • Click review the agreement, read it (yes, read it) and then click agree (or done if you recently updated it)
  • Then, click the blue link for manage DPA Details.
  • It is going to redirect you to a GA 360 page.  There will be a lot of mumbo jumbo at the top about not being linked to an organization etc. etc.  If you do not use GA 360, ignore it.  Look down on that page, however, and there will be a section for you to add your legal entity (business name including LLC if you have one) and your name, email, and mailing address (use a PO or business address if you do not want to use home)
  • Once you have added your info click save or done, then close out that screen.
  • You should still have the GA data processing agreement page up. Click save.
  • If you have done everything correctly, your data processing agreement on that page should show the date you updated everything.  Close out of that page.

 

Step Two:  Tracking Info

  • Go back into Google Analytics.
  • Go to your administrator panel (the ⚙)
  • Click on tracking info under property (second panel)
  • The top tab has your GA tracking code.  You don’t have to do anything here.
  • The second tab is for Data Collection.  Make sure remarketing and Advertising Reporting are turned off. Save the page.
  • The third tab is Data Retention,  Go here.
  • Under user and event data retention, click how many months you want data saved.  There is no correct number here, but I recommend you set it for 26 months or less.
  • For reset on new activity, click on or off.  Something to keep in mind with this setting….if you track multi-session events, you should keep this on, otherwise, click off.  Save the page.

 

Google Analytics + GDPR1

Step Three:  Anonymize Google Analytics

When you set up your Cookie Opt-In pop-up, it will block all cookies if your reader does not opt-in to them.  If you anonymize your GA, it will not block those cookies.  There are several ways to do this, one is more difficult, two are easy-peasy. What is anonymize, you ask?  It is a way of stripping out the last few digits of an IP address, so you cannot determine where someone lives by their IP.  For example, if someone’s IP address is 123456789, anonymizing it will make the IP 123XXXXXX.  It keeps your readers data private, so you are no longer collecting an IP cookie from GA.

The More Difficult Method

If your Google Analytics is hardcoded into your header, you will have to go in, find that code, and add this this into your coding.  It is likely in your header. If you did not hardcode it, ask your web designer to go in and add this, otherwise, I recommend you use one of the easier methods below.

For all hits (Taken from Google):

ga('set', 'anonymizeIp', true);

For individual hits (Taken from Google):

ga('send', 'pageview', {
  'anonymizeIp': true
});

Easy Method #1

  • If you use the plugin Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP) the task of setting GA to anonymize is very simple.
  • Make certain your this plugin is updated to the latest update.
  • Go to Google Analytics in your WordPress left dashboard sidebar.
  • Click on tracking code.
  • Go to Advanced Settings
  • Toggle the switch to turn on Google Anonymize.
  • That’s it!

Note:  If you are using this plugin first the first time. go through the process of claiming your Google Analytics code first, in general settings.

Easy Method #2

Another way of anonymizing Google Analytics is if you use the Monsterinsights plugin.

  • Go into your WordPress dashboard sidebar to Insights —> Settings —> Tracking —> Demographics
  • There is a checkbox to anonymize Google Analytics.
  • Easy-peasy, you are done!

Note:  If you are using this plugin for the first time, validate your Google Analytics account first.

Final Notes:

Make certain you have advised your readers in your GDPR compliant privacy policy that you use Google Analytics to collect page views, but you have it set to anonymize, so you cannot see their IP addresses.  For more information, please read my post on getting your blog ready for GDPR.  Remember, once you have set your Google Analytics to anonymize, if your readers do not opt-into your cookies, it will not affect Google Analytics!

Google Analytics + GDPR3

 

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