About data segments that use User ID to advertise

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your audiences and make audience management and optimisation simpler, you’ll find the following improvements in Google Ads:

  • New audience reporting
    Detailed reporting about audience demographics, segments and exclusions is now consolidated in one place. Click the campaigns icon Campaigns Icon and open the 'Audiences, keywords and content' tab, then click Audiences. You can also easily manage your audiences from this report page. Learn more about audience reporting.
  • New terms
    We’re using new terms on your audience report and throughout Google Ads. For example, 'audience types' (these include custom, in-market and affinity) are now referred to as audience segments and 'remarketing' is now referred to as 'your data'. Learn more about the Updates to Audience terms and phrases.

You can create data segments with User ID by uploading customer segments keyed on custom generated User IDs. These segments that use User ID are eligible for targeting across Google properties, including Google Search, Shopping and YouTube.

Benefits

Here are some of the benefits of using data segments with User ID:

  • Advantages over Customer Match
    • Data segments with User ID increase targeting coverage to signed-out traffic for search and YouTube.
  • Advantages over data segments for search ads
    • Offline segmentation: Savvy advertisers have robust offline backend systems to build highly tailored segments from their CRM data. These segments utilise both historic and dynamic attributes, which can’t always be passed via the pings that use your data segments for search ads.
    • Post-facto state management: Your data segments for search ads are dependent on page views to drive list changes. Therefore, targeting newly identified customer segments would require the user to visit the advertiser website first (in order to be added to a new segment for search ads).

How data segments with User ID work

To implement a data segment with a User ID, add a top-level parameter called 'user_id' to your global site tag (this value is non-PII). user_id is a unique identifier that you internally associate with a certain customer. With this parameter, an advertiser can add a User ID tag to collect user lists that are matched to the Google cookie space without providing personally identifiable information (PII) to Google. When that customer visits your website, the g tag javascript embedded in the website passes the user_id to Google, enabling Google to associate the given 'user_id' with the user’s Google cookies. This association lets you build data segments with User ID by uploading lists of user_ids via the Google Ads UI or API.

Note: Your data segments that use User ID in Google Ads do not work with the Google Analytics tag and its own User-ID functionality.

Option 1: Set up the User ID parameter in your global site tag

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the 'Appearance' icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page that you’re searching for.
  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Tools icon Tools Icon.
  2. Click the Shared Library drop-down in the section menu.
  3. Click Audience Manager.
  4. Click Audience sources from the page menu.
  5. Click the 3-dot icon 3 dot icon next to 'Global site tag'.
  6. Click Edit source to set up a global site tag.
  7. Click Advanced settings then select the “user_id” checkbox.

Note: The user_id tick box may be greyed out if you are not on the Customer Match allowlist. Learn more about Customer Match policy

  1. Click Save and continue.
  2. If you haven't already installed the gtag.js global site tag on your site, follow these instructions to implement it.
  3. Implement the event snippet to pass the user_id parameter when users log in or register on your website (or on any page where you have access to a stable user_id for the current user). See additional instructions below.

You are responsible for generating user_id values for every user and ensuring that those values are stable and consistent for each user across sessions, browsers and devices.

Usually, this can be achieved if your website offers a user account functionality letting users register and sign in. Upon registration, you should generate a unique identifier for the user and pass it to Google Ads via the tag. When the same user comes back to your site and signs in again, you should pass the same identifier again via the user_id parameter.

An example of a way to pass the user_id parameter via gtag.js is shown below:

<script>gtag('event', 'login', { 'user_id': '132456' });</script>

The sample snippet above uses 'login' as the event name, but you can pass any event name that you want. The only requirement is to include 'user_id' as part of the event data argument.

Note that if you have already implemented the event snippet on certain pages of your site (for instance, to capture dynamic remarketing parameters), you may add the user_id parameter to your existing event snippets, as shown here:

<script>

gtag('event', 'page_view', {

'send_to': 'AW-CONVERSION_ID',

'user_id': 'replace with value',

'value': 'replace with value',

'items': [{

'id': 'replace with value',

'google_business_vertical': 'retail'

}]

});

</script>

Important

When assigning User IDs, there are three important things to remember:

  1. Each user must have a unique User ID.
  2. For each user, the user_id parameter must be the same each time when they visit your website. For example, if Mary visits your website in the morning and you upload the user_id to create data segments with User ID via the Google Ads upload API, you must provide the same user_id for both cases.
  3. You may not pass Google personally identifiable information (PII) in the user_id.

Option 2: Set up the User ID parameter in Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a tag management system that allows you to quickly and easily update tags and code snippets on your website. You can use Google Tag Manager to install your global site tag.

  1. Sign in to your Tag Manager account.
  2. Select Tags.
  3. Click on the tag name that you want to edit.
  4. Set your User ID variable.
  5. Click Save to complete your tag setup.
  6. Preview and confirm your changes, then click Publish.

Upload 'user_ids' data using the Google Ads API

Account owners or administrators can use the Google Ads API to upload data files of 'user_ids' and manage the User IDs of their audience segments. Advertisers can upload a data file, add or remove customer data or edit configurations through the API. Learn more about Remarketing section of the Google Ads API

User ID data are not considered PII data, and it is strongly recommended that advertisers hash User ID data before uploading to Google. Make sure that User IDs uploaded are identical to those sent to Google in the global site tag.

The user_id parameter can also be used for Google Ads cross-device linking. Note that if you set up data segments with User ID before 3 October 2018, you already are opted in to cross-device linking. Learn more about advertiser cross-device linking

Note: Tag must be from the Google Ads account (or from linked Google Ads manager accounts) uploading User IDs.

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