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Cookie consent: 4 tips to increase opt-in rates and regain users trust

The acceptance rate is the key to improving ad revenue. Find out how to re-engage users who have opted out.
by Usercentrics
Feb 8, 2022
Consent New Gold
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It has long been known among online marketers that “Consent is the new gold”. But what if a website visitor simply ignores the cookie banner or intentionally clicks the reject button? Are they lost forever in regards to targeted marketing activities, or is there perhaps still a way to re-engage those users who have opted out?


In this article you will learn:

  • why acceptance rate is the key to improving ad revenue
  • when it can be profitable to re-engage users who have opted out
  • actionable tips on how to re-engage those users
Important to know

GDPR-compliant cookie consent can only be attained via the opt in principle. In other words, personal data may only be collected and used for marketing purposes if the user has actively consented to this. Consent also needs to meet other criteria. Learn more: 7 criteria for a GDPR-compliant consent)


Important: If the user ignores the banner and continues to navigate around the website, it does not count as legitimate consent according to the GDPR.


There are a number of tricks often used to get website visitors to optin, but are nonetheless forbidden by law. For more details about these, see our article Obtaining user consent: these 5 tricks are not compliant with the GDPR.

Why is the acceptance rate of cookies key for improving revenue?

For online marketers, it makes a big difference whether the majority of users accept only essential cookies or also marketing cookies. After all, the information gained through optional cookies forms the basis for the targeted content delivery.


⇨ Acceptance rate is the key to a treasure trove of relevant marketing data, which in turn has a direct impact on ad revenue.

Is re-engaging users who have opted out from cookies worthwhile?

Before devising a strategy to win back users who have opted out, the first question to ask is what the potential is. How high is the current acceptance rate? In other words, what percentage of users are giving their consent to the use of all cookies on average? If it is already relatively high, targeted optimization measures can still be taken, but the effort is only really worthwhile if there is a high proportion of users opting out.


Interesting fact: On average, about two-thirds of users give their consent for the use of marketing cookies (internal Usercentrics evaluation).


However, this value does not apply to every website or every industry, because whether a user agrees to the use of their data depends on various factors.


For example:

  • How privacy savvy is the user?
  • How trustworthy is the brand perceived to be?
  • How much does the website operator/company rely on obtaining consent?
Important to know

Before you pull too many levers at once to get a user to opt in, one important thing must be taken into consideration: the user must freely choose to do so (Recital 42, GDPR). They cannot be manipulated or forced into opting in, e.g. by blocking their access to the website with a cookie wall.

How to win back users who have opted out

If the user has already decided against consenting to the use of cookies once — although this could also have happened accidentally — it makes sense not to make a second attempt right away. A bit of strategy is required. The magic words: timing, incentive and extras. The following practical tips have proven effective.




In order to convince a user to consent, the added value must be clearly evident. Individual, embedded content is a good option here.


The scenario: if a user who has opted out wants to interact with a certain type of content on the website, a cookie consent dialog is played out and the user is asked for consent again.


For example, this option is available for:

  • embedded social media posts from Twitter or Facebook
  • embedded timelines from Twitter
  • embedded YouTube videos

The advantage is that the user recognizes exactly what they get access to by providing their consent. Cookie consent now fits perfectly into the user journey, increasing likelihood of higher consent rates.


Our assessment:

✔ Easy to implement
✔ Fully customizable for branding, messaging and context
✔ High user acceptance



Option 2: Use programmatic display


While benefits of contextual consent are immediately obvious, with programmatic display you have to go deeper into data analysis. Using the data obtained from users who have opted in, you need to find out which subpages and landing pages have a high trust factor, and then play out the cookie consent on these pages again.


It is important to keep an eye on the development of programmatic display. In order to make it as unobtrusive as possible for the user, it is advisable to initially limit the display to a small proportion of users, and only increase the frequency when the data shows corresponding signs.


Our assessment:

✔ Unobtrusive option to increase the likelihood of consent
⚠ Requires elaborate data evaluation or analysis
⚠ Strategy must be tracked and readjusted if necessary




Major sales promotions such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday not only attract more users to retailers’ websites, but also increase consent willingness. For example, our Black Friday research shows that opt in is significantly higher on these days than usual.


The reason for this is obvious: users want to get to the bargains as quickly as possible and therefore tend to set aside privacy concerns. It is up to each retailer to decide to what extent they want to take advantage of this shift in the usual “pain threshold”. However, the replay of the cookie banner should be used judiciously in order to avoid risking users feeling so harassed by it that they leave the page.


Our assessment:

✔ A lot of potential to significantly increase the acceptance rate.
⚠ Develop deep contextual understanding of users’ “pain threshold” for banner presentation



Option 4: Incentivation via voucher


Anyone who has visited a web store has likely seen the obligatory deal “coupon code in exchange for receiving the newsletter”. However, this marketing tactic can also be used to solicit cookie consent from users who initially declined.


So make your users an offer. “Do you really want to decline? How about a 5% discount code for your next purchase?”


Caution: pay attention to moderation and middle ground here. If you entice users with goodies that are too big, you could quickly come under suspicion of unduly manipulating them to consent — because the offer may be too good to refuse. We recommended strictly adhering to the “voluntary” element of consent (Recital 42, GDPR) in order to act in a GDPR-compliant manner.


Our assessment:

✔ High user acceptance
⚠ Potential to overshoot the mark if incentives are too generous
⚠ The user’s choice to consent is not based on building trust


Depending on how low your acceptance rate is, winning back users who have previously rejected cookies offers great potential. The implementation of these measures requires varying degrees of effort. In addition, depending on the scenario, the intrusiveness of the consent request also differs. While most people are unlikely to be bothered by contextual consent, for example, other approaches require much more sensitivity and fine-tuning.


For those who are smart and diligent about it, the extra effort can be worthwhile. This is because the additional data collected in compliance with data protection regulations over a longer period of time makes a significant contribution to the total usable data volume, which in turn has a direct impact on ad revenue.


Our recommendation: Keep an eye on your consent rates and regularly check how you can increase them through targeted measures. Because sometimes even small levers, such as incentives, have a big effect.


A data-compliant implementation of a Consent Management Platform is ultimately at the discretion of the respective data protection officer or legal department.


These explanations therefore do not constitute legal advice. They merely serve to support you with information about the current legal situation when implementing a Consent Management Platform solution. If you have any legal questions, you should consult a qualified attorney.

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