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Understanding Google’s new consent requirements for Switzerland

Effective from July 31, 2024, Google has extended its EU User Consent Policy to encompass users in Switzerland. What does this policy expansion mean for businesses? And what are the necessary steps for compliance?
by Usercentrics
May 30, 2024
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As of July 31, 2024, Google has announced a significant expansion of its EU User Consent Policy to include websites and apps with traffic/users in Switzerland. This update has important implications for publishers and advertisers operating within the European Economic Area (EEA), the UK, and now Switzerland.

 

In this article, we delve into the details of this policy expansion, its impact on businesses, and what’s needed for compliance.

The expansion of Google’s EU User Consent Policy signifies a broader application of consent requirements to safeguard user data privacy. It mandates certain disclosures and consents from end users in the EEA, the UK, and Switzerland. This applies to websites and apps using Google products and services, such as AdSense or Google Analytics, outlining the responsibilities of publishers and advertisers regarding user consent for:

  • Use of cookies, online trackers and local storage: Where required by law, user consent must be obtained before placing cookies and/or other tracking technologies or using other local storage mechanisms, on user devices.
  • Data collection and ad personalization: User consent is necessary to collect, share, and use personal data to personalize digital ads.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in limitations or suspension of the use of Google products, or even termination of the agreement.

Google’s EU user consent policy – what’s changed and what does it mean for advertisers?

 

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powered by Usercentrics Consent Management Platform

Google policy requirements for publishers and advertisers

Publishers and advertisers marketing to audiences in the EEA, UK and now Switzerland using Google products are now subject to specific obligations to ensure compliance:

 

Publishers and advertisers are mandated to obtain legally valid user consent for the use of cookies or local storage where required by law, as well as for the collection, sharing, and use of personal data for ad personalization.

Transparency and user control

 

Clear instructions on how users can revoke their consent should be provided alongside the request for consent. Furthermore, a record of any granted consent must be maintained to demonstrate compliance with the policy.

Identifying data sharing partners

 

Publishers and advertisers must transparently disclose any third parties that may collect, receive, or use user data as a consequence of their use of Google products. This includes providing users with easily accessible information about how these third-parties use the data.

New scenarios

 

The policy also addresses scenarios where user data from a third-party property (website or app not controlled by the publisher or advertiser) is shared with Google due to the use of Google products. In such cases, publishers and advertisers are required to make commercially reasonable efforts to ensure the third-party property operator complies with the user consent obligations outlined in the policy.

The easiest way to comply with Google’s new CMP requirements in Switzerland

Implement Usercentrics CMP to get compliant before July 31, 2024

Google requirements for publishers marketing to Switzerland

Since last year, Google has implemented a requirement for publisher partners to utilize a Google-certified Consent Management Platform (CMP) such as Usercentrics CMP, integrated with IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) for serving ads to users in the EU/EEA and the UK. After the July 31 deadline, Swiss publishers using Google monetization products targeting Swiss traffic must also adhere to the following:

  • Implement a Google-certified CMP
  • Comply with Google’s EU user consent policy
  • Integrate with the TCF for Swiss traffic

Google’s directive for Swiss publishers to adopt a CMP from their partner program represents a notable shift in Swiss digital practices. This decision, primarily focused on ensuring TCF usage for Swiss traffic, reflects Google’s proactive approach to aligning with legislative dynamics, namely with the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (FDPA), which came into effect in 2023.

 

While the GDPR doesn’t directly apply in Switzerland, Google’s enforcement of TCF in the Swiss context indicates an acknowledgment of the FDPA’s alignment with GDPR standards.

You might also find this useful:

 

FADP checklist: your toolkit for compliance

 

Learn what you need to know to comply with Switzerland’s FADP privacy law.

Google requirements for advertisers targeting Swiss audiences

Companies using Google adtech products will need to obtain consent from Swiss users where legally required. For now, advertisers won’t be expected to send a verified consent signal for Swiss traffic through Google Consent Mode V2 — the requirement in force for EU/EEA audiences —, but this might change in the future.

To learn all about Google Consent Mode, watch our explainer video:

 

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powered by Usercentrics Consent Management Platform

Even if Consent Mode is not required for now, if you’re advertising using Google products, the most efficient way to collect and manage user consent in a legally compliant way is to implement a consent management platform (CMP) like Usercentrics consent solutions for websites and mobile apps.

 

Usercentrics CMPs are both Google-certified, fully supporting Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) and Google Consent Mode v2.

 

Although Consent Mode activation is not required for now, it’s enabled by default in the tools, so you’ll be one step ahead should the requirements in Switzerland align with the rest of Europe. Plus, by implementing Consent Mode v2 you can benefit from analytics and conversion modeling, and avoid losing marketing data due to rejected consent banners.

Google policy update: impact on marketing strategies

The updated Google policy prompts marketers to prioritize obtaining valid user consent for data collection and ad personalization to align with building trust and respect for user privacy. This involves the implementation of transparent and user-friendly consent mechanisms to ensure compliance with the policy’s requirements.

 

Here’s what’s essential for marketers to consider under the updated policy:

 

Making the acquisition of valid user consent for data collection and ad personalization a central element of your marketing strategy in these regions is imperative.

 

As per Google’s recommendation, their certified CMP Partners, such as Usercentrics Web & App CMP and Cookiebot CMP, have been thoroughly assessed and meet certain technical requirements to ensure the best possible experience for advertisers.

Transparency is crucial

 

Clearly conveying to users how their data is collected, used, and shared is vital. Equally important is providing easily accessible information and options for users to manage their consent preferences.

Partner compliance

 

If your operations involve third-party platforms that integrate with Google products, ensuring their compliance with user consent requirements is essential.

 

By aligning with the EU User Consent Policy, marketers can demonstrate a commitment to respecting user privacy and cultivating trust with audiences in the EEA, UK, and Switzerland. Ultimately, this can lead to a stronger connection between their brand and audiences, heightened user engagement and more successful marketing campaigns.

Before you go: the importance of compliance

The expansion of Google’s EU User Consent Policy to include users in Switzerland underscores the growing emphasis on data privacy and consent management. Publishers and advertisers must proactively adapt to these changes, ensuring compliance with the updated policy to maintain a positive relationship with Google and uphold user privacy.

 

In summary:

  • Implement a Google-certified CMP like Usercentrics CMP to collect user consent
  • Activate the Transparency and Consent Framework (if you’re a publisher, i.e., if you monetize your platform)
  • Consider implementing Google Consent Mode V2 for additional marketing benefits.

You may find these useful:

 

Get ready for Google’s new CMP requirements in Switzerland before the July deadline

Implementing Usercentrics CMP is the easiest path for compliance

FAQ

What is Google’s EU User Consent Policy?

The Google EU User Consent Policy outlines the requirements for obtaining valid user consent for the use of cookies, local storage, and the collection, sharing, and use of personal data for ad personalization. It also emphasizes transparency, user control, and the identification of data-sharing partners. Non-compliance with this policy may result in limitations or suspension of the use of Google products, or even termination of the agreement. The policy has been expanded to include users in Switzerland, highlighting the growing emphasis on data privacy and consent management.

What is the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF)?

The Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) is a set of standards designed to help organizations comply with data protection regulations, particularly regarding user consent for data processing and online tracking.

What are the new Google consent requirements in Switzerland?

The new Google consent requirements in Switzerland mandate the use of a Google-certified CMP and full support for the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) for publishers. For advertisers that don’t monetize their platforms with digital ads, the only requirement for now is to obtain consent from Swiss users where legally required.

What are the features of Google-certified CMPs?

Google-certified CMPs fully support the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) and Google Consent Mode v2.

Is Consent Mode activation required for Swiss publishers?

Although not currently required, it is enabled by default in all Usercentrics consent solutions, providing an advantage if Swiss requirements align with the rest of Europe in the future.

What are the benefits of implementing Consent Mode v2?

Implementing Google Consent Mode V2 helps your website/app become compliant with Google’s EU user consent policy requirements, if you have traffic or users from the EU/EEA and UK. It also enables additional marketing benefits such as analytics and conversion modeling, while also helping to prevent the loss of marketing data due to rejected consent banners.

What can we expect next from Google in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, we can expect Google to continue emphasizing data privacy and consent management, potentially introducing further updates or requirements to align with evolving privacy regulations and best practices. One possible update is to require advertisers to implement Consent Mode v2.

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