Enhanced Conversions

The end of third-party cookies is approaching: While browsers such as Safari or Mozilla have been automatically blocking these types of cookies for several years, Chrome is still a long way off. But that will soon be over and the most used browser worldwide will no longer support third-party cookies from 2024. For advertisers, this results in new hurdles with regard to the alignment and tracking of purchases, leads, etc. With Enhanced Conversions, Google is providing a future-oriented solution that is intended to remedy the situation in terms of tracking.

What are Enhanced Conversions?

Enhanced conversions offer advertisers the opportunity to record conversions in detail despite browser restrictions and to continue to optimize bidding options based on this. This is initially an addition to the existing conversion tags – anyone who installs Enhanced Conversions can still use existing tags that are based on the opt-in of the cookie banner. The special feature of Enhanced Conversions is that self-collected data can be passed on to Google via hashed values. This means that actions such as purchases or registrations can be measured reliably, even if the browser restricts tracking. This also works retrospectively in the event that cookies have been deleted in the browser.

How do Enhanced Conversions work?

With the help of the one-way hash algorithm SHA256, self-collected data from the website is passed on to Google. The abbreviation SHA stands for Secure Hash Algorithm (secure hash algorithm) and the sequence of digits 256 reflects the length of the hash value (scatter value) in bits. This creates a cryptological function that generates irreversible and unique hash values. These values ​​cannot be deciphered retrospectively, from which the term “one-way” can be derived. Accordingly, data can be transferred to Google once and unrecognizable, but there is no further possibility to process it afterward.

Enhanced conversions for the web

When using Enhanced Conversions for the web, events and sales are tracked within the advertiser’s website. These make use of the hash values ​​as follows:

  1. As soon as a user carries out a conversion action, personal data is collected via the advertiser’s website. At least the e-mail (preferred), name, date of birth, or address is required for this. The more data is provided, the higher the probability of a clear match.
  2. This data is hashed and thus completely encrypted before it is sent to Google for data collection.
  3. Based on this, Google can assign whether and which conversion action was carried out by this user. Hashed values ​​for which no assignment is possible are deleted.

In order for Google to be able to reliably trace the data, however, it is assumed that the user has a Google profile (Gmail) with which the data can be compared. According to this, enhanced conversions can currently only be mapped via data-driven actions such as purchases or registrations, but not for micro conversions such as clicks or page views.

As part of the terms of use for data processing, enhanced conversions can currently only be applied to users who have a Gmail address. However, Google is working on including other domains within data protection in tracking in the future.

Enhanced conversions for leads

In addition to the enhanced conversions for the web, enhanced conversions for leads are also available. These are particularly relevant for advertisers who want to track actions outside of their websites. In order for the implementation to succeed, the interaction of CRM and Google is required: 

  1. A user reaches the website via an ad.
  2. He: She browses the website and fills out a form. The data received, such as email, name, address, etc., is transmitted to Google in hashed form.
  3. The lead information is stored in parallel in the CRM.
  4. As soon as one of the leads actually becomes a customer (conversion), the hashed CRM data can be passed on to Google. Google Ads can then compare these values ​​with those from step 2 and integrate them into conversion tracking.

Where or how are Enhanced Conversions set up?

The Enhanced Conversions are installed via the Google Tag Manager, the Google Tag directly on the website, or a Google Ads API.

You can set it up yourself using the Tag Manager, for example, in just a few steps:

  1. In Tag Manager, create a custom data layer variable named the same as on the website. This is then automatically generated during the conversion (e.g. purchase) and contains personal data such as the e-mail address of the buyer. Repeat this step for the other variables.
  2. Customize the Google Ads conversion tracking tag and select “Include user-supplied data from your website”.
  3. For the assignment of the personal data, insert the user: internal variable(s) from step 1 in the next window, click on Save and publish the container.
  4. Adjust the settings of your conversion actions in Google Ads, activate the “Advanced Conversions” field in the settings via Google Tag Manager, and store the URL of your website.
  5. The Enhanced Conversions setup is complete and will be approved within 72 hours.

Please note: Even if the use of Enhanced Conversions is considered data protection compliant according to Google Ads, you should always consult with data protection officers before installing it and get their assessment.

Distinction from consent mode

Furthermore, advertisers now also have the option of recording conversions using what is known as consent mode. The difference to Enhanced Conversions is that actions such as purchases or leads are only modeled in this case. The consent mode also works if user consent is rejected. As soon as a user refuses cookies on a website, Google sends ping information that contains, for example, a time stamp or the target URL. No personal data is stored in the process.

In the next step, conversions are modeled by comparing opt-in and opt-out data. This is always done conservatively, as it can be assumed that people who reject cookies are less likely to carry out conversion actions than those who accept them. However, it should be noted that modeled conversions in tracking cannot be differentiated from the actual ones, which results in a black box with regard to this data.

The Consent Mode is installed either via Google Analytics or Tag Manager. Due to the data-based modeling approach, a learning phase of up to 75 days can be assumed here, which is not required for enhanced conversions or is required to a much shorter extent (only 30 days).


Especially with regard to the increasingly thin field of third-party cookies, it is essential to integrate new tracking methods into your own ads campaigns. With Enhanced Conversions, Google offers advertisers the opportunity to close tracking gaps and thus record actions such as purchases or leads that would not have been traceable if browser restrictions had been used. Every ads manager knows that the more data is available, the more precisely campaigns can be optimized by the bid strategy algorithms.

Even if Enhanced Conversions will probably not be able to measure the same number of conversions in the future as with classic Third Party Cookies, these should already be considered a useful addition. In addition, there is the consent mode, with which it is possible to take account of conversions through modeling that would not have happened in the event of an opt-out. In principle, it can be assumed that this form of tracking in particular will become increasingly important due to the presumably falling acceptance rates of the cookie banner.

Anyone who activates Enhanced Conversions and the Consent Mode in addition to their existing tracking will have the extensive opportunity until 2024 to track some of those with opt-out or browser restrictions in addition to users with opt-in and to verify the validity of their own conversion data optimization.


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