What is consent mode?
Launched in September 2020 in response to EEA privacy regulations, Google’s Consent Mode is a tool to control tag cookie storage. It allows businesses to transmit user consent preferences from cookie banners to Google Tag Manager. Consent Mode adjusts the behaviour of tags like, Google Analytics, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ads based on user consent, facilitating detailed insights while adhering to GDPR and global privacy laws.
What is consent mode v2?
As a response to evolving privacy legislation and the phasing out of mobile device identifiers and third-party cookies, Google is transitioning from Consent Mode to Consent Mode V2.
The main difference Between Consent Mode V2 and Consent Mode: Consent Mode V2 introduces two additional consent states;ad_user_data and ad_personalisation. These new variables require explicit user agreement for sending data to Google for advertising and personalised advertising purposes.
The below consent parameters can be collected in consent mode v2;
- ad_personalisation: Sets consent for personalised advertising.
- ad_user_data: Sets consent for sending user data related to advertising to Google.
- ad_storage: Enables storage (such as cookies) related to advertising.
- analytics_storage: Enables storage (such as cookies) related to analytics, e.g., visit duration.
- functionality_storage: Enables storage supporting the functionality of the website or app, e.g., language settings.
- personalisation_storage: Enables storage related to personalisation, e.g., video recommendations.
- security_storage: Enables storage related to security, such as authentication functionality, fraud prevention, and other user protection.
Why is it important?
If businesses want to continue measuring user behavior and website performance, and get the maximum result from marketing they need to switch to Google Consent Mode v2. Users not using Google Consent Mode v2 by 6th March 2024, will not be able to use all available features of Google Ads products.
Key Features Affected on Google Ads:
- Conversion Measurement: Consent Mode V2 impacts how conversions are measured, ensuring a privacy-centric approach to tracking user interactions with ads.
- Remarketing: Changes in how user consent is managed for effective remarketing in Google Ads.
- Ad Personalisation: Balancing personalised content delivery while respecting user privacy.
- Customer Match
- Similar segments
- Custom segments
- In-market audiences
- Affinity audiences
- Detailed Demographics
- Life Events
- Location Targeting
How do I setup consent mode?
Basic Consent Mode:
- Set up a Consent Management Platform (CMP).
- Configure the website to block tags unless consent is granted.
- Integrate a consent flag to communicate decisions to Google.
Advanced Consent Mode:
- Use a CMP for user consent management.
- Configure the website to pass consent flags to Google.
- Send cookieless pings to Google for accurate modeling.
Do I need a cookie banner?
To use Google Consent Mode V2, it is necessary to have a cookie banner in place. This means you need to have, or get, a consent management platform (CMP) running that aligns with Google’s standards as well as GDPR and the e-privacy directive. Consent Mode V2 functionality ensures the language of the banner is in line with Google’s standards for compliance.
What is serverside tracking and how is this related to consent mode?
Before explaining what consent mode is we need to explain the difference between a first and third party cookie.
A first-party cookie is a small piece of data that a website sends to a user’s browser, and it is stored on the user’s device. These cookies are set by the website the user is currently visiting, and they are commonly used for essential functions such as remembering user preferences, maintaining user sessions, and enhancing the overall user experience on the specific website.
In contrast, a third-party cookie is set by a domain other than the one the user is actively visiting. These cookies originate from external sources, often advertising or analytics services, that have content embedded on the website being visited. Third-party cookies are frequently used for tracking user behaviour across different websites, creating user profiles, and serving personalised ads.
Key regulation changes in the second half of 2024 mean that Google plan to phase out the use of third-party cookies. They have already started to phase out third party cookies to 1% of global Chrome users from Jan 2024. By setting up first party cookies through serverside tracking you can ensure your measurement approach is future-proofed.
Setting up a server-side Google Tag Manager (SGTM) configuration can benefit advertisers looking to pass back tracking data to ad platforms and analytics tools by helping ensure the collection of first-party cookies. In a server-side GTM setup, the website first sends data to a cloud server, and then the cloud server distributes the data. By managing the data distribution on the server side, it allows for a more controlled and direct process, reducing reliance on third-party cookies for certain tracking and analytics functions. This approach can enhance user privacy, data security, and compliance with evolving privacy regulations by minimising the use of external tracking mechanisms and emphasising the importance of first-party data collection.
Types of server side tracking
- Serverside Google Tag Manager - This method is the most popular one, you use a web GTM container to deliver data to the server GTM container (SGTM).
- Pure server-to-server tracking - This metho sends information directly from one server to another, bypassing the client or user’s browser.
How is consent mode linked to serverside tagging?
You don’t need to implement serverside tracking to collect consent however with the planned phasing out of third party cookies later in 2024 in Google Chrome which is already being applied to 1% of users globally first party tracking should be the next phase of your data strategy. Google Consent Mode is required regardless of whether you use browser or server-side tracking.
When integrating Consent Mode with server-side tracking, you need to ensure that user consent is respected both on the client-side (browser) and server-side. This includes:
- Configure consent mode in web Google Tag Manager.
- Passing user consent from the web GTM to the server-side GTM.
- Set up server-side tags to respect users consent state, for example, ensuring that data sent to platforms like Google Ads respects the user’s consent decision.
When do I need to act?
Implement Google Consent Mode V2 by 6th March 2024 to comply with the Digital Markets Act and Google ad policies. Failure to adopt by this date restricts personalised advertising in Europe.
Businesses must prioritise adopting Consent Mode V2 and implementing serverside tracking for accurate data, user privacy, and compliance with evolving privacy regulations. The March 2024 deadline underscores the urgency for advertisers to ensure a seamless transition to the new consent framework, safeguarding their ability to measure performance and optimise campaigns effectively. For more information on how to setup consent mode v2 or serverside tracking get in touch with Ayko.