Google Consent Mode

What Is It and How Does It Work?

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Privacy is becoming an increasingly more important topic for Marketing Teams. Today we are going to talk about Google Consent Mode and how it can help you as a marketer navigate this complicated world of privacy. Google Consent Mode is a way for your website to measure conversions and get analytics insights while being fully GDPR compliant using Google services like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Ads.

Google Consent Mode is a feature that helps marketers take a privacy-first approach to marketing without sacrificing their ability to gain insights on user behavior. When you enable Google's Consent Mode, it automatically adjusts the relevant Google tags’ behavior to not read or write cookies for advertising or analytics purposes. This enables advertisers to respect user choice while still capturing some campaign insights.

How Google Consent Mode Works

According to Google, Once you have enabled Google Consent Mode, it will adjust the behavior of normal tracking pings to alter the information that is collected to respect a users preferences.

  1. Consent status pings (Google Ads and Floodlight tags): Consent status pings are sent from each page the user visits where consent mode is implemented, and are also triggered for some tags if the consent state changes from denied to granted (for example, if the user opts into a consent dialog). These pings communicate the default consent state configured by the site owner and/or the updated consent state (such as granted or denied) for each consent type (for example, ad storage, analytics storage).
  2. Conversion pings: Conversion pings are sent to indicate that a conversion has occurred.
  3. Google Analytics pings: Google Analytics pings are sent on each page of a website where Google Analytics is implemented and upon events being logged.

When consent is granted, the associated tags will function normally. When consent for ad storage or analytics storage is denied, the associated Google tags deployed via the global site tag or Google Tag Manager will adjust their behavior accordingly to restrict the data that is captured and used.

*It is important to note that Google already supports the TCF 2.0 framework and Google Consent Mode is primarily targeted at organizations who are not already obtaining user consent within the scope of the IAB TCF framework.

Is analytical information still collected when I have Google Consent Mode turned on?

Yes, Google Consent Mode enables you to comply with GDPR regulations while still collecting valuable anonymized information from users who have opted out of ad storage or analytics storage. Even when Consent Mode is turned on, Google will still collect functional information such as browser headers (timestamp, user agent, referrer) as well as aggregate or non-identifying information which includes things like source (paid vs organic) and information about the current consent state.

If Consent Mode is active and a user opts out of analytics and ad storage, Google will NOT use cookies for advertising purposes, collect IP information. In addition, Google will redact ad-click identifiers, and alter the requested domain so that 3rd party advertisers cookies. For a more granular list, check out Google's documentation here.

Do I need a Consent Management Platform (CMP) if I am using Google Consent Mode?

The short answer is yes. Google Consent Mode helps streamline users' consent preferences into supported tools like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Ads, and Floodlight but it does not provide the granularity of user consent preferences that a Consent Management Platform does.

So what's the benefit of Google Consent Mode?

Glad you asked! Without Google Consent Mode, marketers complying with GDPR would need to prevent the marketing tags from being fired until a user explicitly consented. With Consent Mode, marketing teams can still fire the tags because it integrates with your CMP solution to understand a user's consent preference and determine what information is allowed to be collected.

Google Consent Mode acts as a bridge between your Consent Management Platform and Google's technologies to enable you to continue collecting vital information about behaviors and conversions.

Looking to chat more about Google Consent Mode or have questions about privacy on your website? Schedule some time to talk with us today!