Google Consent Mode: everything you need to know in 5 minutes

Google Consent Mode: everything you need to know in 5 minutes

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At a glance

What are the benefits of Google Consent Mode
How Google Consent Mode works and how to implement it
Which services currently support Consent Mode
Why a Consent Management Platform is required for full GDPR compliance
Whether anonymous tracking via Google Analytics is actually GDPR-compliant
Data protection and marketing - stronger together with explicit consent
Usercentrics, Google services and Google Consent Mode

Quite simply, using Google Consent Mode gives you a competitive advantage. Ensuring GDPR compliance is very important, but that’s a requirement, rather than a benefit. The stick, rather than the carrot. To date so much data privacy media coverage still focuses on what companies and advertising are losing, rather than what they’re gaining. 

 

With Google Consent Mode data-driven marketing is not only possible, it’s future-proofed. And it leapfrogs companies ahead of competitors who are still stuck trying to figure out how to continue to do things the old way as much as possible.

 

Companies need to comply with data privacy laws, and they need user data to drive marketing decisions and secure ad revenue. These requirements do work together. Google Consent Mode enables website operators to get over 70 percent of data back for advertisers. You can both optimize opt-in rates and gain conversion insights for those who do not provide consent.  

 

Building and maintaining user trust is becoming increasingly critical to companies’ success, and transparency is a big part of that. Being transparent about privacy law requirements and why you’re asking for users’ data is a key part of that. 

 

Google Consent Manager helps website operators to move away from mass collection of users’ personal data to a dynamic, consent-based system. The advertising business model remains intact while respecting individuals’ privacy. Marketers still get data they need and clarity on conversions.

Do you use Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager or Google Ads and wonder if you are GDPR-compliant? Do you want to be able to ensure continued optimization of your data strategy in this changing privacy landscape? 

 

Google Consent Mode enables website operators to adjust the behavior of their Google tags and scripts based on their users’ consent status. Tags are loaded on web pages before the consent dialog appears, so tag behavior will adjust dynamically depending on users’ cookie consent choices. Measurement tools will only be employed for specifically determined purposes if the user has given consent. 

 

Users’ consent status is collected by the CMP, then Google Consent Mode transmits it to Google for further processing. No personal data is sent to Google, only information regarding each website user’s consent choices, e.g. allowing the use of particular marketing tools. Users’ privacy preferences are maintained at every step, and companies maintain the ability to make data-driven decisions.

Implementing Google Consent Mode with the Usercentrics CMP solution as an alternative to prior blocking can be done in a single step, though existing customers and those with custom data processing services should note the additional information below.

 

✔ Adjust the existing Google Tag Manager code by adding a few lines of code above your Google Tag Manager tag.

✔ If you are an existing customer, ensure the Google Consent Mode option is toggled ON in the Usercentrics Admin Interface.

✔ For new customers Google Consent Mode is ON by default.

✔ If you have customer data processing services, use the Usercentrics CMP events to signal the consent status via the Consent Mode API.

 

We’ve also developed a convenient new feature to automate the process of enabling Google Consent Mode in Usercentrics CMP v1 and v2. Get it up and running in two easy steps. 

 

Access the full Google Consent Mode feature implementation documentation here.

The following Google services currently support Consent Mode:

 

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads (Google Ads Conversion Tracking and Remarketing) 
  • Floodlight 
  • Conversion Linker 

 

It’s a simple, convenient customization and another way we stay one step ahead of your ever-changing legal and technology needs.

 

The Usercentrics CMP supports Google Consent Mode. Sign up for updates now.

Google Consent Mode does not replace a Consent Management Platform (CMP)

 

Obtaining user consent remains the website operator’s responsibility. Using Google Consent Mode requires that all websites have implemented fully functioning CMP software to ensure that granular-level user consent is collected for each technology.

 

By pairing the Consent Mode API with the Usercentrics Consent Management Platform (CMP), advertisers can indicate if the user has given consent for cookie usage related to ads and/or advertising. The supported Google tags will respect this signal and adjust their behaviour accordingly, only utilizing cookies if consent was granted for the specific purposes.

 

Website operators can use Google Consent Mode instead of prior blocking of the Google tags. This is beneficial because the tags are not blocked outright when consent has not been given. Instead, Google will use the signal to adjust tag behavior based on the user’s consent preferences in the Usercentrics CMP. The technologies mutually benefit each other, streamlining both the user experience and data management.

 

For example, if the website user decides to reject the use of certain marketing technologies, Google Consent Mode will react based on this consent status and will only display purely context-based advertising on the website, without using any personal data.

 

Google Consent Mode serves as a link between the CMP and Google. It is the interface that enables Google services to run on websites based on the types of consents collected from website users, without requiring Google to have direct access to personal data or denying companies access to information they need to drive conversions.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

Google Consent Mode has been created especially for website operators who do not obtain user consent within the scope of the IAB Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) with their Consent Management Platforms (CMP).

 

For companies actively using the TCF 2.0, Google Tools will continue to read out and respect the IAB TC String.

Website operators who want to use cookies or other tracking technologies on their websites – either for marketing purposes or for processing users’ personal data within the EU – require consent from the users as stipulated in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

 

You can learn all about how to gather consent in our article “7 Criteria for GDPR-compliant consent”. 

 

More importantly, though, online consumers are more aware of their data collection and usage online, and companies need to provide user-friendly transparency about their privacy compliance and data collection in order to build and retain user trust. 

 

Proactively embracing a consent-based system keeps companies moving ahead. Focused on driving revenue by optimally leveraging technologies and serving users’ needs. Companies can evolve their marketing efforts with smart, data-driven decisions rather than get mired in trying to skirt compliance and risking potential fines.

According to Google, if the user does not provide consent to tracking via Google Analytics (“analytics_storage: denied”), all data will be anonymized. This means that it will be captured without a client ID and recorded in aggregated form. 

 

Additionally, if the placement or reading out of advertising cookies is prevented (“ad_storage: denied”), the main processing purposes for which user consent is classically obtained will no longer react.

 

Can these technologies be used without user consent? Opinions differ.

 

According to the Orientation Help for Providers of Telemedia from the Datenschutzkonferenz (DSK), reach measurement can indeed represent legitimate interest for the website operator. In any case, it is always necessary to first weigh website operator vs. user interests. If no personal data is forwarded to third parties (e.g. Google), and the data is not to be used for the third parties’ own purposes, legitimate interest might be claimed.

 

However, since the IP address is transmitted during most interactions with website visitors, which, according to the German Federal Court of Justice is considered personal data, a fully anonymous interaction is not possible in most cases.

 

⇨ If a website operator does not think that collecting consent is necessary, from a technology perspective they must ensure that an anonymous interaction is possible in 100% of users’ website interactions. Website operators must also ensure that the forwarding of users’ personal data to servers in the USA is prevented. “Third country” is the key term here (Schrems II), otherwise consent will always need to be collected. Plus, beyond just legal compliance, being consent-focused is important for building trust with the brand.

With consent collection from website users, advertisers can continue to optimize opt-ins, measure conversions and retrieve analysis insights with Google Consent Mode while remaining GDPR-compliant. With Consent Mode, Google combines protection of users’ data with the advertising industry’s interests, creating the perfect marriage between marketing and privacy. 

 

Data-driven business models will remain strong – using explicit permission and not at the expense of anyone’s privacy.

 

The simplest way to obtain granular, GDPR-compliant user consent for the use of cookies and other tracking technologies is via a Consent Management Platform (CMP). With this tool, users  determine their data privacy preferences in detail with the help of a consent banner (e.g. provider, purpose, duration, etc.) They have the ability to agree to the use of certain technologies via opting in as well as opting out. 

 

Even better, the full customizability of the Usercentrics CMP means you maintain your branding and continually optimize for higher opt-in rate. You’re also building trust by providing transparency to your users. Sounds easy? It is!

 

Keep in mind: The higher the opt-in rate is, the more data will be available to you for marketing purposes. This means higher advertising revenues.

With Consent Mode, Google provides a solution for advertisers to adjust the behaviour of Google tags on their websites based on users’ consent status. Usercentrics makes setup fast and easy.

 

By pairing the Consent Mode API with the Usercentrics Consent Management Platform (CMP), advertisers can indicate if the user has given consent for cookie usage related to ads and/or advertising. The supported Google tags will respect this signal and adjust their behaviour accordingly, only utilizing cookies if consent has been granted for those specific purposes.

 

Implementing Google Consent Mode with the Usercentrics CMP solution can be done in a single step, though existing customers and those with custom data processing services should note the additional information below.

 

✔ Adjust the existing Google Tag Manager code by adding a few lines of code above your Google Tag Manager tag.

✔ If you are an existing customer, ensure the Google Consent Mode option is toggled ON in the Usercentrics Admin Interface.

✔ For new customers Google Consent Mode is already ON by default.

✔ If you have customer data processing services, use the Usercentrics CMP events to signal the consent status via the Consent Mode API.

 

Just one more way we provide the solutions you need to stay one step ahead of ever-changing legal and technology needs, so you can focus on your core business.

DISCLAIMER

These statements do not constitute legal advice. If you have any legal questions, you should consult a specialist lawyer.