How GTM & GA4 Will Adapt to the Cookieless Future

Akanksha Chandan
3 min readApr 17, 2024
Source: stape.io

Third-party cookies, the backbone of website tracking for years, are facing extinction. But fear not, marketers! This doesn’t spell the end of user insights. In this post, we’ll explore how Google Tag Manager (GTM) and GA4 are evolving to tackle the cookieless future. We’ll delve into the rise of User IDs, explore privacy-preserving measurement solutions, and discover how GTM and GA4 will adapt to deliver valuable user data even in a cookie-less world.

Here’s what you can expect to see change in GTM and GA4 alongside the cookie depreciation:

Cookieless GA4 Tracking Using Server GTM

As third-party cookies become less reliable, cookieless GA4 tracking with Server-side Google Tag Manager (GTM) offers a future-proof solution. This approach leverages your server environment to collect and transmit user data directly to GA4, bypassing cookie limitations. Server-side GTM tagging acts as a secure middleman, allowing you to capture essential metrics like page views, events, and user IDs without relying on browser cookies. This empowers you to maintain valuable website analytics even in a cookieless future.

Recommended read: Server Side Tagging: Everything you need to know!

Focus on First-Party Data:

  • Increased Emphasis on User ID: As discussed earlier, User ID will become a crucial method for identifying users. GTM will likely offer improved functionality for collecting and managing User IDs from various sources.
  • CRM Integrations: Expect tighter integration between GTM and CRM systems to leverage customer data for personalization and targeted marketing.

Evolving Measurement Techniques:

  • Privacy-Preserving Measurement Solutions: Google is developing Privacy Sandbox initiatives to offer alternative tracking methods that don’t rely on individual user data. GTM will likely integrate with these solutions as they become available.
  • Focus on Engagement & Consent-Modeled Data: Since user tracking might become less precise, GA4 will likely prioritize metrics like engagement time and content interaction to understand user behavior. Additionally, data models based on consent signals from users might play a bigger role.

Evolving Attribution Models:

  • Data-Driven Attribution: With less reliance on last-click attribution (which relies on cookies), GA4 might move towards data-driven models that consider all touchpoints throughout the customer journey.

Advanced Reporting & Analytics:

  • Machine Learning Insights: GA4 will likely leverage machine learning to generate more sophisticated insights from the collected data, helping you understand user behavior and trends even without perfect user identification.

Overall, expect GTM and GA4 to become more adaptable and data-driven to navigate the cookieless future. The focus will shift from user-specific tracking to understanding broader user trends and behaviors using a combination of first-party data, privacy-preserving techniques, and advanced analytics.

Book a complimentary consultation for GTM Services with Google experts to gain deeper insights into your GTM setup and how you can enhance it for the cookieless future.

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Akanksha Chandan

MBA — Marketing & International Management | Senior Marketing Specialist | Sprouting Interest in Psychology