With the advent of a cookie-free world and numerous data privacy legislations, marketing experts have emphasized how 1st party data (aka 1PD) is a priority for brands looking to future-proof their marketing efforts.

To quote a 2021 article from Google that had insights from APAC industry leaders, “by leaning into quality data that is unique to you and your customers, you will identify more opportunities to engage customers.”

In this blogpost, we’ll focus instead on how you can use your 1PD for marketing purposes. The 2 solutions involved in this context is:

  • 1. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) - the new Google Analytics that will be replacing the older Universal Analytics
  • 2. Display & Video 360 (DV360) - a demand side programmatic platform

Heads up! If you haven’t heard, GA4 and DV360 can actually be linked with each other. This is significant, as historically only the enterprise version of Analytics (i.e paid version, GA360) could be linked with DV360. As of now however, the free version of GA4 can easily be integrated with DV360 and other Google solutions.

Benefits of integrating DV360 and GA4

1. Target your GA4 audiences in DV360

The audiences that you create in GA4 can be targeted in DV360. As an example, if you have an audience created from GA4 users who are “blog visitors” – with the integration, you can see this as an audience list in DV360 and target them as it is.

GA4 audiences in DV 1
DV360 interface, with GA4 audiences

You may be asking, why bother with this integration if your campaigns are already performing in DV360? Simply put, marketers* that use 1PD can potentially double the incremental revenue from a simple ad placement, communication, or outreach”.

*2020 Boston consulting group, Think with Google article on first-party data

To learn more about the benefits of 1PD and what it means to activate it, read our consultant’s article, which includes findings from a Boston Consulting Group study.

Consultant's view: 3 types of 1st Party Data to activate in your digital marketing strategy

2. Custom-bidding based on GA4 conversions & goals

Unlock DV360’s custom bidding by optimizing your DV360 bids towards preferred GA4 conversions. What this means is you can focus to bid on impressions that are more valuable and in accordance with your goals.

To illustrate, let’s say you have a GA4 conversion that is counted under a “form_submittion_success” marked conversion event. You can create a custom bidding script in DV360, which optimizes bids to said GA4 conversion “form_submission_success” with weight of 1.0X.

custom bidding gif 2
Custom bidding example, from DV360 help cebtre : https://support.google.com/displayvideo/answer/9728993?hl=en&ref_topic=9928205

Remember, custom bidding with GA4 data is privacy safe – use the opportunity to test custom bidding to find your best performing defined bidding algorithm, especially when you’re facing an environment where generic user-based targeting could prove more challenging.

3. Report DV360 campaigns in GA4

When you link your DV360 advertiser with GA4, you are enabling DV360 data for reporting in the Analytics platform. From a marketing perspective, this means you can cross-channel report DV360 as a traffic source dimension GA4; whether on its own or in comparison with other traffic source dimensions in GA4. 

Do note that as of late Sep 2022, the reporting capabilities is still limited though the GA4’s helpcentre does list more dimensions than what we can currently get.

From our own testing, we’ve verified that you can get DV360 data in source and campaign reporting. As an example, if you’re a shoe brand doing a summer campaign in DV360, you can see the following dimensions reported in GA4:

  • Session Source platform: DV360
  • Session Source/medium: activerunner.com / cpm
  • Session Campaign: Coolkicks Summer Campaign
  • Users: 500

To gather such reporting, do ensure that you have enhanced attribution in DV360 and that in the GA4/DV360 integration configuration you have “auto-tagging” and “enable campaign attribution” turned on.

GA4 and DV linkage 3
Screenshot of DV360 link setup in GA4


Putting everything together, trial GA4’s integration capabilities with other Google solutions! Put your existing 1PD to the test; the key point is to accept that it will be a learning process – but it’s best to test and optimize now, so your future-proofed 1PD strategy is always evolving.

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