Skip to main content

Google’s launch of Consent Mode version 2 marks a significant step forward for websites using Google’s suite of advertising tools. This update is more than just a compliance requirement, it’s a transformative approach to how websites manage Google-related cookies and user consent.

With the upcoming enforcement of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the stakes for compliance have never been higher. As the deadline in March 2024 approaches, the need for websites to adapt and implement Google Consent Mode v2 becomes paramount. This shift ensures that businesses can continue leveraging Google’s powerful advertising tools while adhering to the latest data protection standards and respecting user privacy.

What is Consent Mode?

Google Consent Mode, an innovative tool launched in 2020, has become central to how websites handle user consent for data collection, especially concerning Google’s suite of services like Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Google Tag Manager. This tool ensures that data is only collected and processed when users have explicitly consented, aligning with stringent GDPR requirements. By integrating with consent management platforms (CMPs), Consent Mode allows for the conditional loading of Google tags, marrying compliance with continued operational efficiency.

The introduction of Consent Mode 2.0 represents a significant leap forward, offering greater transparency and control over data preferences for both users and advertisers. This update allows for more detailed consent management, enabling users to fine-tune their privacy settings and advertisers to tailor their approaches within the bounds of these preferences.

Setting Up Google Consent Mode

Certified CMP Partner

For the effective use of Google Consent Mode, it’s necessary for websites and apps to integrate with a Consent Management Platform (CMP). CMPs serve as the crucial link connecting websites, apps, and the digital advertising ecosystem, facilitating the management of user consents and standardising the process for collecting and documenting these consents.

Upon successful integration with a CMP, digital platforms can then leverage Consent Mode to manage the behaviour of Google tags. This integration ensures that the loading of these tags and subsequent data collection activities are conducted in full alignment with the user’s consent preferences, thereby maintaining compliance with privacy regulations and enhancing user trust.

Upgrading to Consent Mode v2

In November 2023, Google introduced Consent Mode v2, offering enhancements that give users and website owners more control and transparency over data collection practices. 

With the enforcement of Google’s EU User Consent Policy (UCP) for audience and measurement solutions in March 2024, it’s crucial for advertisers to upgrade to Consent Mode v2 by then.

Key Features of Consent Mode v2:

Additional Consent Signals

Version 2 introduces new consent signals for ad_user_data and ad_personalization. These allow for more specific consent regarding user data for advertising and the activation of personalised ads, providing clearer choices to users about their data usage.

Implementation Options

With Consent Mode v2, there are two main ways to implement consent on your site: Basic and Advanced.

  • Basic Mode ensures that no Google tags are fired until consent is explicitly given. This mode is straightforward and maximizes user privacy by only collecting data when permission is granted.
  • Advanced Mode allows for some data collection without full consent. It uses cookieless requests to send anonymized data to Google, enabling a level of data analysis and ad personalization even when consent for cookies is not given. This mode requires careful configuration to balance data collection with user privacy.

Setting Up Consent Mode v2:

  1. Audit Your Current Setup: Begin with a thorough review of your existing data collection and consent management practices to identify areas requiring adjustments to align with Consent Mode v2 specifications.
  2. Select a CMP: Choose a CMP that supports Consent Mode v2 and integrate it with your site. This CMP will manage how consent is obtained and recorded. You can find a list of Google-approved CMPs here.
  3. Configure Your Site: Depending on the chosen mode (Basic or Advanced), configure your site to handle Google tags appropriately. For Basic Mode, tags should only activate with consent. For Advanced Mode, set up your site to send anonymized, cookieless data when full consent isn’t given.
  4. Communicate Consent to Google: Implement the necessary consent flags on your site to inform Google of the user’s consent status. This ensures that data is processed according to the consent provided, allowing for compliant data collection and usage.
  5. Comprehensive Testing: Rigorously test the implementation across your digital properties to confirm that the consent signals are correctly managing data collection and user preferences are respected.

For a detailed technical understanding of Google Consent Mode and its implementation, visit the official Google documentation on Consent Mode and Developer Resource pages.

Using Cookie Banners with Google Consent Mode v2

For Google Consent Mode v2 to work, your site needs a cookie banner that follows Google’s, GDPR, and e-privacy rules. The banner’s setup affects how Google collects data based on user consent.

  • Yes to Cookies: Tells Google it’s okay to collect data, enabling full site analytics and ad tracking.
  • No to Cookies: Google limits data collection but uses conversion modeling to estimate user actions without full data.

Conversion modeling helps predict user behaviour even with limited data, ensuring insights into website performance. This approach keeps your site compliant and insightful, respecting user privacy.

Why Advertisers Must Adapt to Consent Mode v2 By March 2024

For advertisers and publishers, especially those operating within the European Economic Area (EEA), compliance with Consent Mode v2 is not optional but a prerequisite. The upgrade to Consent Mode v2 is essential to continue leveraging Google’s advertising tools for remarketing, audience targeting, and performance measurement.

Delaying or ignoring the implementation of Google Consent Mode v2 by the end of February 2024 can result in significant operational disruptions. Organisations risk losing access to critical digital marketing tools offered by Google, experiencing gaps in GA reporting, and facing challenges in maintaining effective remarketing and Performance Max campaigns.

In conclusion, Google Consent Mode emerges as a critical tool for website and app developers focused on adhering to data privacy norms and valuing user consent. Not only that but the absence of Consent Mode v2 implementation means the inability to capture data on new EEA users via platforms like Google Ads and GA4, severely hindering advertising strategies and data insights.

Leave a Reply