If you are providing services to customers and processing data about them, then you have probably received an email from one of Google products subjected: “Important updates about the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)”.

It might seem like Google is restricting marketers and businesses alike from collecting important information, similar to the 2018 GDPR changes.

In this article, we will offer you some of the most important information about the data processing updates to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

What is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)?

As Google says in its own article about the updates, “the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a new data privacy law that establishes various rights for California state residents.”

What this means is that companies that have any business operations in California and collect personal data from their clients, such as email addresses, birth dates, etc. will have to ensure that these clients have a clearly available option to opt-out of selling their information.

There are a few ways to create such opt-outs. A Google article suggests placing a button such as “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” prominently on a homepage.

There are some distinctions as to what is considered as information selling. For instance, the transfer of an email address to someone who is considered a “service provider” is not considered information selling.

Restricted data processing – what it is and how to use it

We need restricted data processing in order to avoid misuse and abuse of personal information provided by our clients. Google takes great care of making information privacy its primary concern and this is a logical next step in the process.

Furthermore, Google notes that it will act as a “service provider with respect to data processed while restricted data processing is enabled.” This way, Google makes sure all their products are safe from selling private information of their users and their clients.

Restricted data processing will also impose on business to take care of the information provided to them by their clients.

As with many of its products, Google had optimized the updates to how data is processed differently across its various products. This will affect some products, such as Google Ads and Google Analytics, to a higher and others to a lesser extent.

We will list the products that already operate using restricted data processing, where users of these products are not required to take any additional actions. Naturally, we will also list the products that require certain actions to be taken as well. We will also try to explain briefly how restricted data processing updates will be applied and how they will affect the following products.

Google products that already operate using restricted data processing:  
  • Ads Data Hub
  • Audience Partner API (formerly known as DoubleClick Data Platform)
  • Authorized Buyers
  • Campaign Manager (formerly known as DoubleClick Campaign Manager)
  • Display & Video 360 (formerly known as DoubleClick Bid Manager)
  • Funding Choices
  • Google Ads Customer Match (formerly known as AdWords Customer Match)
  • Google Ads Store sales (direct upload) (formerly known as AdWords Store sales (direct upload))
  • Google Analytics, Analytics 360, and Analytics for Firebase*
  • Google Customer Reviews
  • Google Data Studio
  • Google Opinion Rewards for Publishers
  • Google Optimize, Google Optimize 360
  • Google Tag Manager, Google Tag Manager 360
  • Open Bidding Buyers (including products formerly known as Exchange Bidding and Network Bidding)
  • Search Ads 360 (formerly known as DoubleClick Search)
  • Waze Ads

* Where data sharing with Google products and services is disabled.

This list is copied from Google’s article Helping advertisers, publishers, and partners comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)  .

Google products require action to enable restricted data processing:  
  • Ad Manager and Ad Manager 360
  • AdMob
  • AdSense
  • Google Ads (other than Google Ads services listed above)

This list is also copied from Google’s article mentioned above.

Some more details about the products that require action to enable restricted data processing below.  Note that these are only general details, and you would need to visit help centers of these products for more details.

Google Ads. It comes as no surprise that this is one of the products which will be affected the most by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Updates. Restricting data processing in Google’s most profitable product will primarily affect the way advertisements are shown and analyzed. This then affects the ability of marketing professionals to have detailed information about ads performances, placements, etc. Of course, this will certainly end up incurring higher costs, especially at the beginning of a new campaign. To avoid wasting budget while optimizing ads performance, it is very important to get familiar with the updates on data processing. However, Google notes that “Third-party click tracking will continue to operate as usual, with no changes when restricted data processing is enabled.” The good news is that conversion tracking, for one, will still function even with restricted data processing enabled.

For more information, we suggest visiting the Google Ads help center.

Google Analytics, Analytics 360, and Google Analytics for Firebase. It is important to note here that all Google analytics-related products will be acting as service providers only in instances when sharing with Google products and services has been disabled. Probably the simplest way to explain the update changes to privacy settings is by restricting data processing for a specific location; in this case, California is most likely to be restricted. Of course, there will still be the option to restrict data processing and collecting of specific events, pages, and even the entire property. For those who have linked other Google products or services to their Google Analytics account, it is worth mentioning that from the moment when data is exported through that linking, it starts being processed by the terms of the Integration Partner. For more information about Google’s integration partner program, visit their official website.

Ad Manager, Ad Manager 360, AdMob, AdSense. The biggest change in the way these products will be processing data under the updated terms of CCPA is the use of unique identifiers. If a user has opted for restricted data processing of some of the data, Google will longer use that data for ads personalization. As we already mentioned, this will mostly affect the campaigns created for display advertising purposes, since advertisers might lose the ability to show their ads to people who have shown interest in similar products. As mentioned before, marketing professionals will now have to find a new way of ad serving on optimization and targeting. For more information on these products, visit their respective help centers – Ad ManagerAdMobAdSense.

Funding Choices. This product is specific because it announced the changes in processing data to take effect in the Q1 of 2020. The product’s CCPA page clearly states that CCPA “message will display a ‘do not sell my personal data’ link and communicate visitor decisions via ad tags.” The reporting feature will also be influenced by the changes, but, apparently, not to a wider extent. You can read more about this in the Funding Choices CCPA article.

The data processing restrictions in the California Consumer Privacy Act the updates will certainly have an impact on data collection and reporting. However, these updates shouldn’t be concerning for publishers and advertisers to a great extent since it will only change the way some features are used. There are still several possible ways to collect and use relevant information in order to run successful campaigns.

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