GA4: Behavioral Modeling and Consent Mode

June 03, 2022 - Written by

It is finally rolling out on all Google Analytics 4 accounts: what am I talking about? Behavioral Modeling generated thanks to Google Consent Mode.

With the implementation of the new regulation of the DPA many brands experienced a great “loss” of data, especially on the mobile side, due to the explicit acceptance of tracking by users.

To try to bypass this loss, Google created the Google Consent Mode which finds one of its maximum applications with GA4, especially in terms of behavioral modeling. The modeling is then applied to users who refuse analytics tracking and is based on the behavior of similar users who have accepted the tracking instead.

Machine Learning underlying Behavioral Modeling estimates data based on user and session metrics (e.g. daily active users) that may not be detectable when cookies or user_id are not available.

Before moving on to have a better understanding of how it works and where to find it in GA4, we need to distinguish the data between Modeled and Observed.

Modeled Vs Observed Data

The observed data are nothing more than the data generated on a web platform or app by users, which accept to be tracked: we are therefore talking about cookies or user IDs or IDFAs.

Modeled Data, on the other hand, are the data generated via machine learning to estimate user behavior based on the bucket of similar users who have instead allowed tracking.

Modeled Data: how it works

In Google Analytics 4, the machine learning that generates modeled data consists of three macro aspects:

  • Accuracy: through Hodlback Validation GA4 maintains data accuracy. In other words, the estimated data are compared with a part of the observed user data and used by the model to verify its validity and accuracy.
  • Reliability: certain prerequisites must be met to activate behavior modeling (see dedicated paragraph). If there is not enough traffic useful to the model, modeling is not triggered.
  • Separation: the modeling algorithm is applied separately to the observed data.

How Behavioral Modeling appears in GA4

First of all, the Admin of the GA4 property will be able to manage the modeling through the Report Identity: it will then be possible to choose between UserID> Google Signals> ID device> Modeled and ClientID.

Second, the modeled data will be visible within the reports in a window similar to the following:

There will be more types of message, below are two tables with the possible messages and where you can find them.

How to activate Behavioral Modeling in GA4

First of all, obviously, it is necessary to set and activate the Google Consent Mode correctly. Then the following requirements must be met:

  • Record at least 1,000 daily events with analytics_storage = ‘denied’ for at least 7 days.
  • Register at least 1,000 daily users who send events with analytics_storage = ‘granted’ for at least 7 of the previous 28 days.


There are limitations to behavioral modeling, in particular they do not apply to:

  • Audiences
  • Realtime reports and cards with real time data
  • Explorations with the exception of the free-form
  • Segments
  • Predictive Metrics
  • Data export

Activating Behavioral Modeling for your Business

If you want to understand how to activate Behavioral Modeling in GA4 but you don’t know how to do it or you haven’t set the consent mode correctly yet or you want more information, send us a message: we will reply within 24 hours!


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