When you implement a consent banner for your website or app, Analytics will be missing data for users who decline consent. Behavioral modeling for consent mode uses machine learning to model the behavior of users who decline analytics cookies based on the behavior of similar users who accept analytics cookies. Modeled data allows you to gain useful insights from your Analytics reports while respecting your users’ privacy.
For example, behavioral modeling estimates data based on user and session metrics, such as daily active users and conversion rate, that may be unobservable when identifiers like cookies or user IDs are not fully available. It helps you answer important questions like:
- How many Daily Active Users do I have?
- How many new users did I acquire from my last campaign?
- What is the user journey from landing on my website to actually making a purchase?
- How many of my site visitors are based in Germany vs. the UK?
- What is the difference in user behavior between mobile vs. web visitors?
Modeled data vs. observed data
When users visit your site and grant consent for Analytics cookies or when they don't opt out of personalization using advertising ID in Android Settings, Analytics associates user behavior with various identifiers to provide continuity in measurement. We refer to this kind of data as observable data because it comes from users who have given Analytics permission to observe their behavior.
When users don't grant consent, events are not associated with a persistent user identifier. For example, if Analytics collects 10 page view events, it can’t observe and report whether that’s 10 users or 1 user. Instead, Analytics applies machine learning to estimate the behavior of those users based on the behavior of similar users who do accept analytics cookies or equivalent app identifiers.
The training data used for modeling is based on the observed user data from the property where modeling is activated.
Google's behavioral modeling approach
Google's behavioral modeling approach applies the following machine learning best practices.
Check for accuracy and communicate changes
Holdback validation maintains the accuracy of Google’s models. Estimated user data is compared to a portion of observed user data that was held back from model training, and the information is used to tune the models. Google will communicate changes that might have a large impact on your data.
Maintain rigorous reporting
Behavioral modeling is only included when there is high confidence of model quality. For example, if there isn’t enough consented traffic to inform the model, then events triggered by users who decline consent aren't reported. This helps ensure the accuracy of the data.
Customize for your business
Google’s more general modeling algorithm is separately applied to reflect your unique business and customer behavior.
Because the model is trained on the observed data for your Google Analytics 4 property, your property must have enough data to train the model. To be eligible for behavioral modeling, your property must meet the following criteria:
- Consent mode is enabled across all pages of your sites and/or all app screens of your apps.
- Consent mode for web pages must be implemented so that tags are loaded before the consent dialog appears, and Google tags load in all cases, not only if the user consents (advanced implementation).
- The property collects at least 1,000 events per day with analytics_storage='denied' for at least 7 days.
- The property has at least 1,000 daily users sending events with analytics_storage='granted' for at least 7 of the previous 28 days.
- It may take more than 7 days of meeting the data threshold within those 28 days to train the model successfully; however it's possible that even the additional data won't be sufficient for Analytics to train the model.
Behavioral modeling starts from the date a given property becomes eligible.
In the very rare event that a property no longer meets the prerequisites for behavioral modeling after previously meeting them, estimated data will no longer be available. If the property later meets the prerequisites again, estimated data will be available again. The estimated data will be available only from the date the property became eligible again.
Show or hide modeled data in reports
To see modeled data in your reports, choose the Blended reporting identity. You must be an Administrator to control this setting:
- In the Property column, click Reporting Identity.
- Select Blended.
- Click Save.
To stop seeing modeled data, select another option. The option you choose does not affect data collection or processing. You can switch between the options at any time without making any permanent impact on data. Learn more about Reporting identity.
How behavioral modeling appears in Google Analytics
Analytics seamlessly integrates modeled data and observed data in your reports. When Analytics includes modeled data, you will probably see differences when compared to reports that include only observed data (e.g., higher user counts in reports that include modeled data).
Use the data-quality icon (shown below) to see when modeled data is integrated.
The following table summarizes the messages you might see via the icon.
|Data-quality icon status||Description|
|Including estimated user data||As of [modeling effective date], Analytics is estimating data that's missing due to factors such as cookie consent.|
|Including estimated user data||
As of [modeling effective date], Analytics is estimating all possible data that’s missing due to factors like cookie consent.
|Excluding estimated user data||Your property’s reporting identity setting doesn’t allow Analytics to estimate data that’s missing due to factors such as cookie consent. Unless you use the blended setting, your reports only include data available from users who consented to the use of identifiers.|
|Estimated user data unavailable||The date range selected is prior to when this property became eligible for estimated data.|
|Estimated user data unavailable||This report includes only real-time or retention data from users who consent to the use of identifiers. It doesn't include estimated data.|
|Estimated user data unavailable||Your property doesn't meet the eligibility criteria to use estimated data.|
Some pages in the Analytics interface will also display a banner with information about the modeling status.
The following table summarizes the messages you might see via a banner.
|Banner message||Banner location|
|Most templates include only data from users who consented to the use of identifiers, except for the free-form and segment-overlap templates, which do include data from estimated users.||Explorations home page|
|If an exploration has a segment with a sequence, it will show only data for users who consented to the use of identifiers.||Exploration detail page|
|This [report/exploration/audience] includes only data from users who consented to the use of identifiers.||Exploration detail page|
|If this segment includes a sequence, it will show only data for users who consented to the use of identifiers.||Segment builder|
The following features don't support using modeled behavioral data:
- Explorations except free-form tables
- Segments with a sequence
- Retention reports
- Predictive Metrics
- Data export (e.g., BigQuery export)