Businesses use IP tracking to get the best out of their web analytics tools. IP tracking helps businesses develop more effective marketing strategies and better understand their consumer base.
Yet, the use of IP tracking has raised some serious privacy concerns. IP addresses can reveal a lot of personal information about individuals without their consent. Businesses must be careful not to violate privacy laws when using IP tracking as an analytics tool.
If you use Google Analytics for your blog or website, this program can track IP addresses. Here is a straightforward explanation of how and why it’s done.
Why Does Google Analytics Track IP Addresses?
Google Analytics collects IP addresses because they give important information about geolocation and site traffic. IP address collection is used to verify user identity and personalize marketing content.
How Google Analytics Tracks IP Addresses
Before generating a final report, Google Analytics cleans and processes the analytics data. Part of the data cleaned and processed are IP addresses.
Google Analytics collects the IP address of every visitor to your website. These IP addresses don’t show up when you receive your final report. This is because they get removed during the data processing and cleaning phase.
Google Analytics has a multi-step process for removing IP addresses. Let’s take a look at each of those steps for a better understanding.
IP addresses collected are then anonymized. IP anonymization is the process of replacing a real IP address with another that can’t be traced back to any individual. GA does this by dropping the last three digits of every IP address collected before processing.
After collection, the analytics data goes through configuration. This step is where filters get applied to any IP addresses from your internal network. Filtering non-external IPs helps you separate customer traffic from internal traffic.
After collection and configuration data gets passed along to a Google database for processing. Processing removes all IPs that are not anonymized or filtered. By the end of this step, no IP addresses can be seen.
When Is It Legal to Track IPs?
Tracking IP addresses is completely legal in a B2B setting. Laws and regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) apply only to individuals and not businesses.
Business names, addresses, and contact information are all considered public information. IP addresses are included as part of this public information and can be tracked for business purposes.
For a more in-depth understanding of the legality of IP tracking, check out this blog post: https://www.canddi.com/blog/2020/09/ip-tracking/
The Bottom-Line on IP Tracking
Google Analytics keeps visitor information private by removing IP addresses before a final report is made. Businesses using Google Analytics to expand their reach should not be afraid to track IP.
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