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How Google’s Restricted Data Processing Updates Could Impact Your Advertising

by Preston Pezzaro   |   Feb 10, 2023

Google recently expanded the scope of its privacy measures to be more inclusive of new laws and rules that are being implemented in multiple states across the U.S. While many of these restrictions have been in place for certain products for years, this new rollout may have an impact on how your business advertises on Google platforms. Here’s how to keep track of what’s changing, and what to do if it affects you.

What is Restricted Data Processing?

Moving into 2023, updated data protection laws are coming into effect in U.S. localities such as California, Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia, and Utah. Google has developed a method they refer to as "restricted data processing" to accommodate compliance in these areas. While some Google products automatically follow this behavior, Google Ads and Google Analytics (when linked to other Google platforms such as Google Ads, typical for most advertisers) require manually enabling or disabling certain settings in order to follow restricted data processing principles.

How will Restricted Data Processing impact my digital marketing?

If changes are made to adhere to restricted data processing, the core functionality of Google Ads and Google Analytics remains, but with restrictions on creating or refreshing remarketing audiences based on data subject to the restricted processing provisions. Conversion measurement will proceed unchanged, and third-party measurement or serving will continue as usual. Any compliance considerations particular to third-party platforms will depend on the particular settings of those platforms.

What steps should my business take to avoid any issues?

Both Workshop Digital and Google recommend that advertisers refer to their legal counsel for guidance on compliance with these changing regulations and any associated updates to restricted data processing settings. To aid in this process, here are some useful resources from Google on the relevant background, as well as details on the in-platform or tag-based methods available to accommodate restricted data processing needs:

U.S. States Privacy Laws

Compliance with the U.S. States Privacy Laws in Google Ads

Advertising Personalization in UA


Enable RDP in Audience Manager

Disable Advertising Personalization in UA

Allow for Ads Personalization in Advanced Settings of GA4

Exclude specific events and user-scoped custom dimensions from ads personalization in GA4

Note that the measurable impact (if any) of these changes to the performance of existing advertising efforts may depend on the extent to which impacted features are currently used, geographic distribution of users, as well as the type of change performed (e.g. globally disabling ads personalization in Analytics, vs. disabling on a regional/even/or user defined basis). If changes to accommodate restricted data processing are desired, note that it may be necessary to take separate steps (as referenced in the links above) within Google Ads, Google Analytics (Universal Analytics), and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Doing so is of particular relevance to audience lists shared with Google Ads from Analytics; in such a case, RDP settings enabled in Google Ads do not apply to those imported audiences, and any needed RDP changes must be applied in Analytics itself.

While Workshop Digital is not able to provide legal advice, we are happy to provide more information and assistance around the technical considerations at hand. Contact us to get started!

Portrait of Preston Pezzaro

Preston Pezzaro

Preston joined the Workshop Digital team in August 2021. He brings his knack for detail and over nine years of digital marketing experience spanning a breadth of industries and client sizes. He’s equally at home working with small businesses as well as Fortune 50 companies.

A proud University of Virginia “Double Hoo” with an M.S. from the McIntire School of Commerce (concentration in Marketing and Management), B.A. in English and a minor in Media Studies, he enjoys the intersection between the creative and analytical skills needed to make effective marketing campaigns tick.

Away from the keyboard, you might find him exploring the natural wonders of Virginia by canoe, bike, or on foot.