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How THG deployed privacy solutions at speed & scale across 30 retail brands


By Cal Salvaggio | Group Head of Paid Media

May 18, 2023 | 7 min read

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Cal Salvaggio, group head of paid media at THG reveals three key learnings from the retail business’ journey to become more privacy-focused and the value of having an in-house team to successfully roll out privacy tools across 30+ brands.

THG deployed privacy solutions at speed & scale

THG deployed privacy solutions at speed & scale

As a digital-first consumer brands group revolutionizing how brands connect to a worldwide consumer base, search makes up 60-70% of our overall paid media mix. And with third-party cookie deprecation on the horizon, privacy has become a massive priority for THG.

We have three key divisions – Beauty, Nutrition and Ingenuity – which house a portfolio of leading digital beauty, health, wellness and sports nutrition brands that are capitalizing on global growth opportunities, supported by the accelerating consumer shift to the e-commerce channel.

Thanks to our in-house media team, THG Media, we have the ability to rapidly roll out and test new processes and tools – to see what works and what doesn’t – while maintaining the care and responsibility of the wider business in mind.

In early 2022, we began a workstream to deploy enhanced conversions and consent mode across the Group, working closely with Google along the way. We’ve identified three key lessons from our experiences that you might find useful if you’re thinking about doing the same:

  1. Build a central team to break down silos

At THG we have a central unit that works across all brands and business units. Our goal is to reduce friction across divisions and make sure we’re deploying best practices consistently.

To build better visibility across our brands the team works closely with paid media leads across the Beauty, Nutrition and Ingenuity divisions to discuss roadmaps, plan strategies, and apply shared learnings at speed. Working across business units this way helps us far better adapt to the nuances of different territories too.

When working with external businesses, we have found it is efficient to have a single point of contact to manage it. THG’s working relationship with Google ensures that we’re on top of its latest product innovations.

  1. Use test data to create a compelling business case & get exec buy-in

At THG there are many projects requiring attention at once, not just marketing, so buy-in from the leadership team was essential to prioritize the technical support needed to begin work on integrating our privacy solutions.

We first showcased the value of the project by testing on a smaller scale, and then expanded that out to other brands to get a perspective on estimated uplift across all divisions. For enhanced conversions and consent mode, we tested across some of our biggest brands such as Lookfantastic and Myprotein, to get results quickly.

We tested in smaller locales like Sweden and Denmark, where we would still see conclusive results, but with less risk to the business than using the biggest markets. We took the test learnings, worked out the incremental value, and built a solid business case to get ahead of other work in the pipeline.

  1. Multiply results with a deeper understanding of your customers

At THG, everything we do is underpinned by data, so it is really important not to see any data loss in our reporting. This meant rolling out consent mode and enhanced conversions as quickly as possible, alongside Google Analytics 4. Together they have helped us see incredibly positive results and improved our confidence about the accuracy of our reporting. It has also meant that we are not losing information on conversions due to changes to the privacy landscape.

Making the right choices and investments require accurate measurement to understand what’s working best and how to maximize it for ongoing performance. Feeling confident in your data is a critical starting point – which is why we conducted an audit to identify any critical gaps. At THG we are able to access data through Elysium, our proprietary e-commerce platform, facilitated through Ingenuity. The data Elysium has can be used in reporting to help bridge gaps in a post-cookie world, however we realized we weren’t using it to its full capability and so will be a key focus over the next six to 12 months.

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Privacy as an opportunity, not a hindrance

Implementing enhanced conversions and consent mode has shown THG that privacy does not have to impact performance. It’s addressed data reduction as a result of a customer-centric data strategy, and, as an organization, has helped us feel more confident to decisively act on insights and drive value across the business.

Although this is a long-term approach, what’s proven key for THG is the right organizational structure, with a central unit helping to break down silos within individual business units. By sharing learnings business-wide, we can make sure that when cookie deprecation happens, we’re already well ahead of the game.

For more helpful advice and insights to help businesses prepare for a privacy-first future, check out The Responsible Marketing Hub with Google.

Marketing B2B Marketing Brand Purpose

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Google is committed to helping businesses thrive in a privacy-first world. The technology giant works with thousands of businesses and agencies to help them prepare for a future without third party cookies. Using privacy-preserving technologies, built on machine learning and automation, it can fill reporting gaps and understand people’s needs in a privacy-centric way.

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