How Google Proxy Affects Targeting

Google Device Limitation

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 limits the data that can be gathered from the user agent string and IP address. LiveIntent actively identifies traffic going through Google as Google Proxy. This traffic causes discrepancies around geo and device/operating system targeting. 

Example Scenario 

If an advertiser is looking to target Canada users only, it isn't possible to specifically target Canada users that use Google devices. This is due to the location of Google's servers in North America - there are 12 major server locations within the United States and 1 in Montreal, Canada. This means that even if a user opens an email in Canada on a Google Device their IP Address may read as if they are in the United States, depending on the server Google chooses to use to serve the cached image. 

The following best practices and alternative options are related to the above example.

Recommended Best Practices

  1. Utilize LiveIntent's audience targeting solutions
    • If a company has first-party data containing users from both Canada and the United States, they can utilize a Custom Audience to target Canada users by email hash. This option is highly recommended as it is 100% accurate and easy to do. Simply upload a file of the Canada subscribers to a line item and target them.
  2. Utilize Key-Value Pair Targeting
    • Much like Custom Audiences, Key-Value Pair targeting also lets publishers leverage their first-party data to allow for 100% accuracy albeit with different implementation requirements.
    • Utilizing Key-Value Pairs requires publishers to add the preferred Key and Value tokens for each of their LiveTags.
      • Value tokens are generated via a publisher's ESP. Publishers need to have a way within their ESP to populate user location upon newsletter open, that value would then populate in the LiveTags. 
    • Utilizing Key-Value Pairs also requires targeting the keys and values at the line item level.  

Alternative Options

  1. Traffic one line item TARGETING Canada.
    • This option will ensure ONLY users opening in Canada will be served the creative you are trafficking but you lose out on the Canada Google users.
  2. Traffic one line item TARGETING Canada AND another line item TARGETING Google Proxy.
    • This option will target ALL Google Proxy users including Canada and the United States.
    • The limitation of this option is that the campaign will serve to United States Google users. However, it will increase your scale.
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