Google Analytics boss addresses critics and plans for measurement within the post-cookie world


Certainly there is criticism that Google gets about the difficulties in working within the privacy budget and in the privacy sandbox. The criticism comes mainly from people in the advertising industry who are looking for solutions that will allow them to continue targeting people individually within Google properties. But hasn’t Google made it pretty clear that that’s not what you’re trying to achieve?

Naturally, this is very nuanced and very detailed. And the devil is in the details. So there definitely needs to be a dialogue and training on both sides of the aisle to find out exactly what is going on.

In my view, it’s still a win for us as long as we can independently review and other people have mechanisms in place to see what exactly is going on from an advertising metering perspective, and it gives us some general ways that customers can see what happens, and then maybe they use that to compare to other things.

But it’s a complex problem because it’s a paradigm shift. When there is a paradigm shift, there is ultimately a phase of ambiguity in which a lot of educational work has to be done before the industry as a whole can come together to come up with a solution.

Apparently, you have a different approach to dealing with audience measurement and frequency capping than you do with custom ad targeting.

We have a number of principles. For example, we believe we are using data that is consented to, first party and then modeling [around it] is consistent with [people’s privacy expectations.] So we do it conveniently.

Likewise, if you think about use cases where it [personally identifiable information] and then doing things aggregated or on the device where the PII (personally identifiable information) doesn’t actually come out of the device in such a way that it can be used in its raw format, which provides the protection users expect. The idea [of showing] that an ad was shown to 1,000 people and three people took action is not something that people are intuitively allergic to.

Well, how all of this manifests itself in use cases is quite nuanced and complex. You need to be very, very thoughtful when applying this in any scenario.

There is also a persistent theory – or criticism – that what Google is trying to do through changes in measurement and analysis is actually to make people more dependent on Google measurements and analysis, and therefore Google advertising. Is that true?

Our mission is really an open web that can also be free. Now, we’ve recently made announcements that are essentially against single-user cross-site tracking as it undermines user trust. I think there are many interpretations of actions. We’re really trying to make sure the internet can continue to thrive while meeting our users’ expectations for privacy and trust.

You will work with an extensive system of certified partners who have lately been more in demand than ever for both services and acquisitions. Do you expect the universe to expand, or is it important to keep an established pool of certified companies that have clearly shown what they are doing?

We value independent review and measurement and the unique perspective they offer to advertisers. I think everyone wins if that is allowed to flourish. The more partners can help with this, I think we would only appreciate it.

Of the other roles I’ve had, I think this ecosystem approach is the right one. When you have millions and millions of customers, you need more than yourself to reach all of your customers in a way that matches the level of service you want. And that’s a pretty critical part of the overall overarching strategy.