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Microsoft Universal Event Tracking UET

Microsoft Consent Mode: Universal Event Tracking (UET)

On January 1, 2024, the Digital Services Act (DSA) came into effect, followed by the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which became applicable in May 2023. Both pirvacy laws are applicable to companies, operating in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the UK. The DMA sets enhanced privacy regulations for Big Tech companies, called gatekeepers, including Alphabet (owner of Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta, ByteDance, and Microsoft. The Act regulates a variety of tech services, including search engines, cloud services, social networks, video-sharing platforms, online advertising networks, and other services.

The new privacy laws, together with the GDPR, are going to change the way how personal data of users is collected. In the EEA and the UK, before any data is collected, companies need to get explicit user consent.

Users care about their privacy, and not all of them are going to grant user consent. This will definitely impact digital advertising, analytics, and other services.

The first company to respond to enhanced privacy regulations was Alphabet (owner of Google). In 2020, it launched Google Consent Mode, which allows websites to adjust how Google tags behave based on user consent choices. Starting in March 2024, Google launched Google Consent Mode version 2, and introduced new consent parameters (ad_user_data and ad_personalization) and two distinct consent implementation types (Basic and Advanced). Google Consent Mode v2 uses behavioral modeling and conversion modeling to get aggregated and anonymized data. Therefore, behavior and conversions even of non-consented users could be modeled to fill in data gaps and increase the efficiency of digital advertisement.

How is Microsoft responding to the new privacy regulations? Read this blog to find out about Microsoft Consent Mode and Universal Event Tracking for its search engine Bing.

Microsoft Universal Event Tracking (UET)

In July 2023, Microsoft has launched its own Consent Mode for tracking Microsoft Ads conversions.

Universal Event Tracking (UET) is a mechanism for advertisers to report user behavior on their websites to Microsoft Advertising by installing one site-wide tag. UET is a prerequisite for advertisers to track conversions and/or do remarketing.

Universal Event Tracking (UET) of Microsoft is a powerful tool that records users’ activity on your website or app. By creating one UET tag and placing it across your website, Microsoft Advertising collects data that allows you to see users’ behavior, track conversion, and target audiences for remarketing.

With the activation of Microsoft Consent Mode, Microsoft now offers the possibility of opting for these tags to operate without cookies for non-consented users.

If you are using Microsoft Advertising, Microsoft Universal Event Tracking is enabled by default. If you wish to disable UET Insights, you can do this in the UET Dashboard within the Microsoft Advertising platform. Access your UET dashboard by going to Tools > UET tag and then select the relevant tag, found on the left navigation bar. In the header summary bar, go to the UET Insights setting and select the pencil icon. From the pop-up window, enable or disable the UET Insights and press Save:

Enable or disable UET

Key Features of UET Insights

  • Audience targeting. UET Insights allows you to set up specific criteria for who should see your ad. This means your ad will be shown only to some customers, specified by you.
  • Automated bidding. Microsoft Advertising manages your bids using its deep analysis of patterns in searches, clicks, and conversions to increase bidding efficiency.
  • Dynamic remarketing. Microsoft Ads show searchers ads with specific products based on the products they have searched for, looked at, or already purchased on your website or app.
  • Performance Max. Performance Max campaigns try to find and convert more customers across the entire network. Microsoft is pairing the right creative assets with the right targeting parameters and is creating new combinations in real time until it finds the most high-performing ad for the market.
  • Similar audiences. With the help of lists of customers whom Microsoft Advertising, UET Insights shows similar attributes to the people on your existing remarketing lists.
  • More powerful website data. UET Insights provides an important website statistics like total number of users and number of visits per page, session breakdown by country and device, users who stay on your website for just a few seconds, and time spent on your website. This helps you understand user engagement, so you can improve your webpages or apps and optimize your targeting to get more conversions.
  • Seamless upgrade. You can simply enable UET Insights without any coding. Just select UET tags, these tags will automatically be updated, and all new tags will be created with UET Insights.

How do UET Tags Work?

To use Microsoft Ads, users need to install the UET tag on their websites. This is done from the UET Dashboard, by enabling the UET Insights. Once the UET tag is installed by the advertiser, the tag reports user behavior on the advertiser’s website to Microsoft Advertising. Advertisers can then create conversion goals to specify which user actions on the website should be counted as conversions. If a conversion goal and the user activity match, it is counted as a conversion.

In addition, advertisers can create remarketing lists based on user activity on the website, and Microsoft Advertising matches the list definitions with UET logged user activity to put users into those lists.

Consent mode is set via a property in UET called ad_storage. The possible values for ad_storageare could be granted or denied.

  • Granted: This is the default state of the UET tag. First and Third-Party Cookies may be read and written for the UET tag.
  • Denied: First-party cookies are not read nor written for the UET tag. Third-Party Cookies are not written. Third-Party Cookies are read-only for fraud and spam purposes, but not for advertising purposes.

UET works with all tag management systems, used by the advertisement industry, including:

  • Google Tag Manager
  • Qubit Opentag
  • Tealium
  • Ensighten
  • Signal
  • Adobe Dynamic Tag Manager
  • Adobe Launch

How to Implement Microsoft Consent Mode and Google Consent Mode v2?

The easiest way to implement Microsoft Consent Mode and Google Consent Mode v2 is by using a Consent Management Platform (CMP). A CMP allows you to create a Cookie Banner and place it on your website. The cookie banner informs users about the cookie usage, and their data collection purposes, and asks for Cookie Consent.

A CMP also allows you to implement Microsoft Consent Mode and Google Consent Mode v2 by setting specific tags into the website and sending the user choices regarding their personal data collection to third parties, like Google or Microsoft.

Use CookieScript CMP, which was recently ranked as the best CMP by peer reviews on G2.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to activate Microsoft Universal Event Tracking (UET)?

If you are using Microsoft Advertising, Microsoft Universal Event Tracking is enabled by default. You can enable or disable UET Insights in the UET Dashboard within the Microsoft Advertising platform. Use CookieScript CMP to deliver a cookie banner and collect user consent.

Which tag management systems can I use when working with UET?

UET works with all tag management systems, used by the advertisement industry, including Google Tag Manager, Qubit Opentag, Tealium, Ensighten, Signal, Adobe Dynamic Tag Manager, and Adobe Launch. CookieScript CMP allows you to deliver a cookie banner and collect user consent.

What data does UET collect once I install it on my website?

UET collects the IP address, the user browser, the user ID, and other data, needed to identify the user. Microsoft Advertising doesn't resell this data to third parties or share it with other advertisers.

How long does Microsoft UET store my data?

Microsoft Advertising keeps user data for 390 days. Microsoft UET also collects the IP address and the Microsoft cookie with an expiration date of 13 months.

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