What is going on between the CNIL and Google Analytics?

13 Aug, 2022

1 min

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Let's clarify the facts first 

Until 2020, there was an equivalence (Privacy Shield) recognized by the European Union between the American and European legislations. Concretely, this text indicated that the level of protection offered by the American legislation was in line with the one required by the European GDPR law. However, this equivalence no longer exists as of 2020, which makes data export from Europe to the United States a real issue.

American digital service providers, such as Google, have implemented control measures to regulate data transfers. However, according to the CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés), these are not efficient enough. 

Today, according to the CNIL, data transfers from Europeans to Americans servers under the current conditions are no longer legal.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

Even without being at the heart of the conversations between the CNIL and Google, it is still possible to assume that the risks for advertisers are low:

  1. Google Analytics is essential for Google (the solution generates significant revenue thanks to the information it generates).

  2. Google Analytics is critical for many companies that use it as a performance measurement tool.

  3. It is highly unlikely to see an outright disappearance of Analytics. Indeed, there are many other options to resolve this conflict, both technically and legally. We are confident that Google will do what it takes to not deprive itself of Google Analytics. For its part, the CNIL has no interest in killing such an important economic growth lever.

aND WHAT ABOUT ADVERTISERS?

For advertisers, the consequences of this decision aren't dramatic either. If you really want to limit your exposure, you can opt for a server-side tagging service with servers and service providers based in Europe, but this does not seem necessary at the moment.

On the other hand, the change of context in which this decision takes place is real and not without danger: the collection and processing of data will be more and more supervised and subject to the approval of the user (which is a good thing).

SHOULD WE WAIT, AND DO NOTHING?

Not really. Rather than focusing on this CNIL decision, we should start asking ourselves: how should I adapt my entire digital distribution to this changing environment, moving towards the prevalence of so-called first-party” data and not based on cookies?

There are solutions that advertisers under-estimate:

  • Better exploits existing customer data (sales data, customer accounts, etc.) for segmentation, reporting, and retargeting purposes.
  • Create synergistic interactions with your customers (for example via a value exchange, inviting them to formally identify themselves and consent to this exchange, in order to increase the aforementioned data.)

    • Be creative. What can you offer your customers, beyond a simple purchase, that is in line with the product or service experience?

    • Nike for instance has a running app to track your sporting activity.

    • Ikea allows you to save furniture configurations to share them.

    • Airbnb allows you to make travel plans to invite your co-travelers. All these interactions provide you with de-anonymized information about your customer, a valuable piece of data!
  • Exploit new communication channels where data is not so important, such as influence if your product lends itself to it.

OUR RECOMMENDATION

Let’s summarize our recommendations. Don't panic, there are still so many things you can do to boost your digital business. You don't control the CNIL, but you have the power to put these things in place. Why don't you start now?

By Ronan Carrein

24 Feb, 2022