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Google Analytics Tracking: Need To Know Before Activating

The use of dedicated software for data analysis of one’s website is increasingly marked for individuals, SMEs and large companies. The possibility of monitoring helpful information in real-time for planning a quality marketing strategy allows for better customer loyalty.

Although this topic is very close to companies that want to sell a service or product, even users who do not have these needs can indirectly run into conditions of a legal nature. For example, among the most used tools is Google Analytics, with which you can track and analyze the market. However, the tracking of this software can only sometimes be safe. In fact, by activating outdated versions, you can run into various problems related to computer security.

Google Analytics: What It Is

GA, an acronym for Google Analytics, is identified as a free web analytics software developed by Google as a Software as a Service (SaaS) service. Launched in 2005, Google Analytics is among the first no hosted software to implement cookies, JavaScript and log files, as well as provide a one-sided visitor identification method: Urchin Traffic Monitor (UTM).

Google Analytics: What It Can Be Used For

Those who use GA can record the web traffic of their website and obtain detailed statistics on how users interact on the platform, be it the web page or the application. Thanks to this service, it is possible to monitor the target audience, tracking advertising campaigns, social networks and everything that can be useful for an effective marketing strategy.

Google Analytics: How It Works

Companies and individuals using GA rely on software capable of monitoring data through a unique tracking code called Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC); the latter is installed on the page you want to monitor. This is more than a fragment of code, precisely JavaScript, launched by the visitor’s web browser when he accesses the referring page. Every time the code is started, the information received is sent to the Google Analytics server, the latter used for processing the data and converting it into detailed reports.

In addition to these features, it is essential to underline that the GATC has the task of setting first-party cookies on users’ devices to memorize information. However, this function can be deactivated in the web browser settings, but usually, this procedure is not automatic. Google Analytics, therefore, can write several cookies, monitoring several parameters of the reference platform, even if there is a need to implement UTM parameters.

Google Analytics: Between Privacy And Tracking

As it is easy to deduce from the technology used to monitor information, Google Analytics can significantly impact user data. This problem was highlighted in the Schrems II sentence, in which it was decreed that transferring personal data to third countries is not lawful. Personal data, as suggested by art. 4 of the GDPR, means all information concerning an identifiable and identified natural person.

In this examination of the facts, it should be emphasized that although it may seem that Google Analytics uses cookies to identify users’ data, the system adopted is not considered binding. In addition, cookies are not, at least for the time being, evaluated personal data, which makes GA’s monitoring process practicable.

Google Analytics: The Incidence Of Cookies

From a legislative point of view, cookies are not considered personal data, but what characteristics do not make them so?

Unique Domain

A cookie cannot be considered personal data since it can only be viewed by the domain that sets it, a condition that changes every time a website is visited. Not even Google can monitor information on the browsing behavior of users across multiple different sites.

Pseudonymised Date

Cookies are categorized as pseudonymized data, as they represent a random and unpredictable number of pseudonyms, which technically can occur several times; therefore, they are not considered indirect.

Indirect Identity

While Google may collect data, it cannot merge multiple user information to track your indirect identity. There is, therefore, a limitation that allows the software to monitor only the interaction information, releasing it from the direct monitoring of personal data.

Google Analytics: The Importance Of An Updated Version

The ruling cited in the previous lines gave way to a more profound assessment of this issue. The trial took place due to a system flaw, with which a specific company’s personal data could be accessed via cookies. Google underlined that access to data by third parties occurred due to an outdated GA version. Until 2023, the GA 4 version can be used to mitigate the impact on the information collected. The latest version allows you to take advantage of various updates, mainly aimed at eliminating IP addresses, disabling Google Signals, integrating Consent Mode and disabling specific data.

Deleting IP Addresses

Version 4 of Google Analytics can delete IP addresses that EU users collect before accessing European domains and servers. This process substantially limits the critical issues associated with personal data loss and cyber threats.

Disabling Google Signals

With GA4, you can disable the functions of Google Signals, i.e. that option that collects in-detail data on Google.


The most updated versions of Google Analytics integrate Consent Mode, a system developed to monitor and respect user consent. For example, when a new web page is accessed, the system will ask for permission to use cookies, guaranteeing maximum user transparency and a personalized choice of information management.

Date Disabling

Users can turn off all or some detailed data. For example, information such as the city, the version of the operating system or the web browser can be disabled to obtain greater privacy and security of personal data.

Google Analytics Tracking: How To Act Before Activating Them

The impact of the ruling also had repercussions on all companies that want to protect consumers. If there are flaws in their system, they could face financial and legal problems. What are the counter-moves that a company can apply to get rid of these problems?

Universal Analytics

Among the alternative solutions to the latest version of GA, which we recall will be discontinued in 2023, is the GTM server, with the implementation of Universal Analytics. This tool makes it possible to make IP addresses anonymous before they reach the Google server, guaranteeing a lawful information monitoring strategy.


An alternative, but of the highest level, is to take advantage of the GA4 client side. This software offers several options to limit the GDPR impact of tracking. Specifically, this system mainly acts on the deactivation of Google Signals, data sharing and implementing Content Mode.

GTM Server

As previously mentioned, the GTM server can be used, but it is advisable to do so when implemented in Google Analytics 4. From a technical point of view, the functions of both systems can be combined, guaranteeing advanced tracking in complete anonymity. Many companies, in recent months, have been relying on this technology to avoid incurring illegal behaviour that could affect the transparency of company monitoring.

Dedicated Tools

In addition to these well-known solutions, you can opt for dedicated tools from paid services or open-source software. Among the most famous programs is Piwik, also available in the Piwik Pro version, with which you can guarantee your European users that their data will not leave the borders of the European Union. Unfortunately, although it is a valid alternative, it is still a rudimentary software and certainly less performing and accurate than Google Analytics.

Advanced Web Hosting

Large companies aiming for ideal cyber security and excellent advanced analytics without incurring potential wrongdoing enjoy world-class self-hosting. Choosing a hosting suitable for your business needs can be the perfect solution for monitoring user interactions on the reference platform. Furthermore, reliable self-hosting allows you to comply with all the regulations of the GDPR and to guarantee consumers and the company itself safe browsing.


Considering Google Analytics and its data tracking, an illegal condition is wrong. Although there have been problems related to the loss of personal data in the past, this condition is linked to outdated software versions. GA4 relies on a much more advanced system, with which it is possible to protect the reference platform’s information and all users who use it. Data analysis is linked to the authorized users who will give on the site visited. Otherwise, partial parameters will be monitored.

Also Read: How To Choose Document Management Software For PEC


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