Knowledge Base

Solving for Google Proxy

What is Gmail Image Caching? 

Google stores a cached version of the images opened in emails via Gmail clients (web browser and mobile app) and serves these images through its own servers. This causes all ad requests to be directed through Google, and causes known issues around the data that can be gathered from the user agent string and IP address. 

What are the issues with Google Proxy? 

LiveIntent actively identifies traffic going through Google as Google Proxy. This traffic causes discrepancies around geo and device/operating system targeting.

When an ad request is made to the ad server, the user agent string and IP address are used to identify the device and location of the user.

Since Google Proxy traffic is directed from Google’s servers, the associated user agent string and IP address are incorrectly attributed to the user. 

LiveIntent’s Solution

Since LiveIntent's targeting is primarily based around the e-mail address's MD5 hash, we are inherently not affected as much as other vendors relying on cookies.

When one of our LiveTags first loads an image, the hashed email address alongside with other supported data points (time and date, placement ID, newsletter, publisher, etc.) is used by our servers to deliver the optimal ad for the user. With the exception of geo-targeting and device, LiveIntent is still able to optimize the ad being served into Gmail environments.

When necessary, LiveIntent is able to apply filters on ad requests coming from Google proxy to prevent any mis-targeting.

  • Geo-targeting  When an open occurs in a Gmail client, LiveIntent can suppress geo-targeted campaigns from entering the auction where the data will all appear to be Mountain View, CA. 
  • Impression trackers and pixels – When an open occurs in a Gmail client, LiveIntent can suppress campaigns with impression trackers and pixels from entering the auction, as it is known that they will exhibit improper behavior.
  • Device targeting – All impressions coming from Gmail appear as “Google Proxy," without being able to understand if it is desktop, phone, or tablet. We generally suggest including Google Proxy on device targeting campaigns so that you’re not excluding users in your target audience.

How to Adjust Targeting

  • Targeting adjustments are found at the strategy level under the “Trafficking” tab. Once in the trafficking tab, select “Browsers.” Based on the information below, select and EXCLUDE browsers accordingly. 

When to exclude: 

  • EXCLUDE Google Proxy if:
    • Targeting a specific City & State, Metro, or Postal Code geo in the US that belongs to or includes California
    • Serving an image using 1x1s 
  • EXCLUDE  Google Proxy, MSOE, Thunderbird and Outlook
    • If DART is serving the images (ex. Standard Tags) 
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