Analytics - Tag Manager

Is Your Website Ready For Google Consent Mode?

By on 7th March 2024

Reading Time: 13 minutes

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Is Your Website Ready For Google Consent Mode?

TLDR

Google Consent Mode is a feature that allows websites to adjust how Google tags and scripts behave based on a user’s consent preferences. It enables websites to respect user privacy while still collecting valuable data for analytics and advertising purposes.

As a Google Analytics 4 consultant, all I get asked about these days is Consent Mode, and many of these questions follow:

Who does it affect?

Google Consent Mode affects any website that uses Google tags and scripts, such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Floodlight, and Conversion Linker. If your website relies on these tools for tracking, analytics, or advertising, you need to be aware of Google Consent Mode and its implications.

Why is it important to implement?

Implementing Google Consent Mode is crucial for ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Directive. These regulations require websites to obtain user consent before collecting and processing personal data. By implementing Google Consent Mode, you can respect user privacy preferences while still gathering valuable insights from your website visitors.

How can I help as a consultant?

As a consultant specializing in Google Consent Mode implementation, I can help you navigate the complexities of this feature and ensure your website remains compliant with data privacy regulations. I can assist you with:

  • Assessing your website’s current consent management setup
  • Recommending the appropriate consent mode (Basic or Advanced) based on your website’s requirements and legal considerations
  • Implementing Google Consent Mode using Google Tag Manager or manual JavaScript configuration
  • Integrating your chosen Consent Management Platform (CMP) with Google Consent Mode
  • Testing and verifying that Google Consent Mode is working correctly on your website
  • Providing ongoing support and guidance to ensure your website stays compliant with evolving data privacy regulations

By working with me, you can save time, reduce the risk of non-compliance, and ensure a smooth implementation of Google Consent Mode on your website.

To find out more, fill in the contact form below or mail me at dave@organicdigital.co

The Longer Mode In Depth Article:

In today’s digital landscape, user privacy and data protection have become top priorities for both website owners and visitors. With the introduction of strict data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Directive, websites are required to obtain user consent before collecting and processing personal data. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in hefty fines and damage to a company’s reputation.

As a website owner, you may find yourself in a challenging situation. On one hand, you want to respect your users’ privacy preferences and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. On the other hand, you rely on data collection tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads to gain valuable insights into user behavior and optimize your website’s performance.

This is where Google Consent Mode comes in. Introduced in September 2020, Google Consent Mode is a game-changer for websites that use Google tags and scripts. It allows you to adjust how these tags behave based on a user’s consent preferences, ensuring that you collect data only from users who have given their explicit consent.

By implementing Google Consent Mode on your website, you can:

1. Respect user privacy preferences: Users who don’t consent to data collection will not have their data processed by Google tags and scripts.

2. Ensure compliance with data privacy regulations: Google Consent Mode helps you meet the requirements of GDPR, ePrivacy Directive, and other data protection laws.

3. Continue collecting valuable data: For users who give their consent, you can still gather important insights using Google Analytics, Google Ads, and other tools.

4. Improve user trust and transparency: By being upfront about your data collection practices and respecting user choices, you can build trust and foster a positive relationship with your website visitors.

In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into what Google Consent Mode is, how it works, and how you can implement it on your website to ensure compliance and maintain data collection capabilities.

What is Google Consent Mode?

Google Consent Mode is a feature that enables websites to respect user privacy preferences while still collecting valuable data for analytics and advertising purposes. It works by adjusting the behavior of Google tags and scripts based on a user’s consent status.

When a user visits your website, they are presented with a consent banner or prompt, typically managed by a Consent Management Platform (CMP). The user can then choose to accept or reject data collection and processing. Google Consent Mode receives this consent information and modifies the behavior of Google tags accordingly.

The purpose of Google Consent Mode is twofold:

1. Ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations: By respecting user consent preferences, Google Consent Mode helps websites comply with regulations like GDPR and ePrivacy Directive. It prevents the collection and processing of personal data from users who have not given their explicit consent.

2. Enabling data collection from consenting users: For users who agree to data collection, Google Consent Mode allows websites to continue gathering valuable insights using Google tags and scripts. This helps website owners optimize their content, improve user experience, and make data-driven decisions.

  • Google Consent Mode affects several Google tags and scripts, including:
  • Google Analytics: Used for tracking website traffic, user behavior, and conversions.
  • Google Ads: Used for advertising, remarketing, and conversion tracking.
  • Floodlight: Used for conversion tracking and reporting in Google Marketing Platform.
  • Conversion Linker: Used for linking conversions to Google Ads clicks.

When a user does not consent to data collection, these tags and scripts will not read or write cookies, nor will they collect any personal data. Instead, they will only collect non-identifying information, such as the user’s consent status and a random identifier for conversion modeling purposes.

By implementing Google Consent Mode, websites can strike a balance between respecting user privacy and gathering essential data for business growth. It ensures that data collection occurs only when users have given their explicit permission, thus promoting transparency and trust between websites and their visitors.

Basic vs. Advanced Consent Mode

Google Consent Mode offers two different implementations: Basic Consent Mode and Advanced Consent Mode. The main difference between the two lies in how they handle data collection from non-consenting users.

Basic Consent Mode:

In Basic Consent Mode, Google tags and scripts are prevented from loading until a user gives their consent. If a user does not consent to data collection, no data is sent to Google, not even the user’s consent status. This means that data is collected only from users who have explicitly agreed to it.

Key points:

  • Google tags and scripts do not load until user consent is obtained
  • No data is collected from non-consenting users
  • Suitable for websites that prioritize user privacy and want to minimize data collection

Advanced Consent Mode:

In Advanced Consent Mode, Google tags and scripts load immediately when a user visits the website. These tags set default consent states (usually set to “denied”) and collect data from both consenting and non-consenting users. For non-consenting users, the collected data is limited to non-identifying information, such as the user’s consent status and a random identifier for conversion modeling purposes.

Key points:

  • Google tags and scripts load immediately, setting default consent states
  • Data is collected from both consenting and non-consenting users
  • Non-consenting user data is limited to non-identifying information
  • Enables more advanced data modeling and analysis

Recommendations:

The choice between Basic and Advanced Consent Mode depends on your website’s specific requirements and legal considerations.

Basic Consent Mode is recommended if:

  • Your website operates in a jurisdiction with strict data privacy laws
  • You prioritize user privacy and want to minimize data collection
  • You are comfortable with the potential loss of data from non-consenting users

Advanced Consent Mode is recommended if:

  • You want to maximize data collection while still respecting user consent preferences
  • You rely on advanced data modeling and analysis for business insights
  • Your legal team has assessed the risks and determined that Advanced Consent Mode is acceptable

Ultimately, the decision should be made in consultation with your legal and data protection teams to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. It’s essential to be transparent about your data collection practices and provide clear information to users about how their data will be used.

Regardless of the mode you choose, implementing Google Consent Mode demonstrates your commitment to user privacy and helps build trust with your website visitors.

Implementing Google Consent Mode

Implementing Google Consent Mode on your website involves several steps and considerations. While it’s possible to implement it manually using JavaScript, the most common and recommended approach is to use a Consent Management Platform (CMP).

Overview of the implementation process:

  1. Choose a Consent Management Platform (CMP) that supports Google Consent Mode
  2. Configure your CMP to collect user consent preferences and integrate with Google Consent Mode
  3. Set up your Google tags and scripts to respect user consent preferences using the gtag function or Google Tag Manager
  4. Test your implementation to ensure that consent preferences are being properly collected and applied

Role of Consent Management Platforms (CMPs):

CMPs play a crucial role in implementing Google Consent Mode. They provide a user-friendly interface for collecting user consent preferences and communicating those preferences to Google tags and scripts.

Key benefits of using a CMP:

  • Simplifies the consent collection process
  • Ensures compliance with data privacy regulations
  • Provides a centralized system for managing consent across multiple vendors and technologies
  • Offers pre-built integrations with Google Consent Mode and other popular tools

Google-certified CMP partners:

Google has partnered with several CMPs to provide seamless integration with Google Consent Mode. These partners have developed pre-built templates and plugins that make it easy to implement Google Consent Mode on your website.

Here’s a list of Google-certified CMP partners, along with links to their websites:

Commanders Act
With an extensive library of over 1,200 client-side connectors and powerful server-side connectors, Commanders Act enables businesses to connect their systems and partners quickly and efficiently, without requiring specialized technical skills.

Ideal for businesses looking for a cookieless CDP solution with extensive client-side and server-side connectors.

Complianz
Complianz is a widely-used WordPress plugin that simplifies the process of making websites compliant with various data privacy regulations, such as the GDPR and CCPA.

The plugin offers a self-hosted and server-side consent management solution that integrates smoothly with other WordPress plugins and themes. Complianz’s extensive documentation and responsive support team ensure that users can easily navigate the complexities of data privacy compliance.

Ideal for WordPress website owners seeking an easy-to-use, all-in-one privacy compliance solution.

Consent Manager
With a user-friendly interface and a wide range of customization options, Consent Manager enables businesses to create fully tailored consent experiences that blend seamlessly with their website’s design. The platform supports over 30 languages, making it an ideal solution for international companies looking to ensure compliance across multiple regions.

Ideal for businesses of all sizes looking for a versatile and user-friendly consent management solution with a wide range of customization options.


Cookiebot
With its advanced scanning technology, Cookiebot automatically detects and categorizes cookies and trackers on a website, providing full control over their usage. The platform offers a user-friendly interface for creating customizable consent banners that blend seamlessly with the website’s design, ensuring a smooth and trustworthy user experience.

Ideal for international websites aiming to achieve compliance across multiple regions while providing a smooth and trustworthy user experience.


Cookie First
Cookie First offers a comprehensive suite of features, including a fully customizable cookie banner, periodic cookie scans, an automated cookie policy generator in 44+ languages, and integrations with popular tools like Google Tag Manager. The platform’s user-friendly interface enables businesses to easily manage their cookies and third-party scripts, ensuring that tracking scripts are only loaded after visitors give their consent.

Ideal for businesses seeking a quick and easy solution for managing user consent preferences across various content management systems and e-commerce platforms.


Cookie Information
The platform offers a customizable cookie banner for websites, allowing businesses to inform visitors about their data collection practices and obtain consent in a compliant manner. With verified banner templates, plugins for popular CMS and hosting providers, and an always-up-to-date cookie policy, Cookie Information simplifies the process of achieving and maintaining compliance.

Ideal for marketers looking to optimize their data collection practices while maintaining compliance with privacy regulations and building trust with their customers.


Cookie Script
Cookie Script’s features include a cookie scanner that automatically detects and categorizes cookies on a website, a privacy policy generator that helps create GDPR-compliant privacy policies, and a consent log that records and stores user consents for auditing purposes. The platform also provides a wide range of resources, such as a knowledge base, blog, and privacy law information, to help website owners stay informed about the latest developments in data protection regulations.

Ideal for businesses looking for a simple, customizable, and affordable cookie consent solution that supports multiple platforms and offers a wide range of features, including cookie scanning and categorization.


CookieYes
With its user-friendly interface and easy integration capabilities, CookieYes is compatible with popular CMS platforms and custom HTML sites, making it accessible to a wide range of website owners. The platform offers a 14-day free trial, allowing users to explore its features and benefits before committing to a subscription.

Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses seeking an affordable and user-friendly cookie consent solution with granular control and historical consent logs.


Didomi
Didomi’s purpose-built solutions are designed to manage privacy and consent, fitting seamlessly into businesses’ existing tech stacks. With 50% of their team dedicated to research and development, Didomi provides expert guidance on Privacy UX strategies for a wide range of use cases worldwide.

Ideal for enterprises and global organizations looking for a comprehensive privacy UX solution that covers a wide range of use cases and regulations.


iubenda
iubenda’s flagship product is its Privacy and Cookie Policy Generator, which allows businesses to create customizable, self-updating legal documents in minutes. Available in 14 languages and automatically updated to reflect changes in the law, this generator ensures that websites and apps can maintain compliant privacy policies with minimal effort.

Ideal for businesses and app developers seeking attorney-level compliance solutions that are easy to implement and maintain across multiple languages and legislations.


One Trust
With over 14,000 active customers, including 75 of the Fortune 100, OneTrust has established itself as a trusted partner for organizations worldwide. The company’s solutions have been recognized by industry experts, such as Forrester and IDC, for their innovation, vision, and market leadership.

Ideal for large enterprises and organizations looking for a comprehensive trust intelligence platform that covers privacy, GRC, ethics, and ESG.



Osano
Osano’s platform is designed to be user-friendly, with features like one-line JavaScript integration for consent management and embedded forms for secure DSAR management. The company also offers a wealth of resources, including blogs, webinars, ebooks, and guides, to help businesses stay informed about data privacy best practices and regulatory updates.

Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses looking for an all-in-one data privacy platform that simplifies compliance while providing expert insights and resources.


Secure Privacy
Secure Privacy’s holistic approach to compliance with Google Consent Mode V2 includes custom cookie banners aligned with Google’s specifications, detailed consent logs compatible with Google’s audit requirements, and geo-targeted compliance for Google Ads in various regions. The platform also offers user-centric design for enhanced engagement on Google platforms, compliance-centric script management for Google tools, and privacy policy templates compliant with Google’s standards.

Ideal for businesses looking to maximize their Google Ad performance while maintaining compliance with privacy laws through seamless integration with Google Consent Mode V2.


Sirdata
By combining technical expertise with a deep understanding of GDPR challenges, Sirdata helps publishers develop their revenue while respecting user consent. The company’s commitment to data privacy and its ability to provide a simple, yet effective, solution for consent management make it a strong choice for publishers seeking to comply with evolving privacy regulations.

Ideal for publishers and media brands seeking a simple, efficient, and fully customizable CMP solution with strong account management support.


Termly
By offering a comprehensive suite of tools, including attorney-crafted policy generators, a cookie consent manager, and support for multiple business platforms, Termly simplifies the process of achieving and maintaining legal compliance. Features include automatic updates, easy installation, and support for industry standards like IAB TCF 2.2 and Google Consent Mode.

Ideal for small businesses looking for a comprehensive, user-friendly, and affordable compliance solution that covers a wide range of legal policies and consent management needs.


Usercentrics
The platform seamlessly integrates with a wide range of marketing tools and technologies, empowering businesses to leverage consented data for personalized experiences and enhanced marketing efforts. Features include user-friendly interface, flexible data protection strategies, and commitment to helping businesses navigate the evolving landscape of data privacy.

By choosing a Google-certified CMP partner, you can ensure a smooth integration with Google Consent Mode and streamline your implementation process.

Importance of Implementing Consent Mode by 2024

As data privacy regulations continue to evolve and become more stringent, implementing Google Consent Mode is no longer optional – it’s a necessity. Google has announced that by 2024, all websites using Google tags and scripts must implement Consent Mode to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Potential consequences of not implementing Consent Mode:

1. Legal and financial risks: Failing to comply with data privacy regulations like GDPR and ePrivacy Directive can result in hefty fines and legal penalties. By not implementing Consent Mode, you risk violating these regulations and facing the consequences.

2. Loss of data and insights: If you don’t implement Consent Mode, you may lose access to valuable data and insights from users who do not consent to data collection. This can hinder your ability to make data-driven decisions and optimize your website’s performance.

3. Damage to reputation and user trust: In today’s privacy-conscious world, users expect transparency and control over their personal data. By not respecting user consent preferences, you risk damaging your reputation and losing user trust, which can ultimately impact your business’s bottom line.

4. Limitations on advertising and remarketing: Without Consent Mode, your ability to run targeted advertising and remarketing campaigns may be limited, as you won’t have the necessary data and insights to create effective campaigns.

Putting Basic Consent Mode on the website’s backlog:

Given the importance of implementing Consent Mode and the potential consequences of not doing so, it’s crucial to prioritize its implementation on your website’s development backlog.

Even if you’re not ready to implement Advanced Consent Mode, putting Basic Consent Mode in place is a critical first step. Basic Consent Mode ensures that you collect data only from users who have explicitly consented, thus minimizing legal and financial risks.

By prioritizing Basic Consent Mode, you can:

1. Demonstrate your commitment to user privacy and compliance: Implementing Basic Consent Mode shows that you take data privacy seriously and are committed to complying with relevant laws and regulations.

2. Lay the foundation for Advanced Consent Mode: Once you have Basic Consent Mode in place, you can more easily transition to Advanced Consent Mode in the future, if desired.

3. Avoid last-minute rushes and potential issues: By tackling Consent Mode implementation early on, you can avoid the stress and potential issues that come with rushing to meet the 2024 deadline.

4. Ensure a smooth and compliant data collection process: With Basic Consent Mode implemented, you can have peace of mind knowing that your data collection practices are compliant and respect user preferences.

In summary, implementing Google Consent Mode is no longer a choice – it’s a necessity. By prioritizing its implementation and putting Basic Consent Mode on your website’s backlog, you can mitigate legal and financial risks, maintain user trust, and ensure a smooth transition to a privacy-first web.

My Role as a Consultant

As a consultant specializing in Google Consent Mode implementation, I am here to help website owners navigate the complexities of this new feature and ensure a smooth, compliant implementation process.

How I can help website owners implement Google Consent Mode:

1. Assessment and strategy: I will start by assessing your website’s current data collection practices, identify areas for improvement, and develop a tailored implementation strategy that aligns with your business goals and legal requirements.

2. CMP selection and integration: I will help you choose the right Consent Management Platform (CMP) for your website, taking into account factors like ease of use, customization options, and compatibility with your existing tech stack. I will then guide you through the process of integrating your chosen CMP with Google Consent Mode.

3. Tag and script configuration: I will work with your development team to configure your Google tags and scripts to respect user consent preferences. This includes setting up the necessary code snippets, configuring tag triggering and blocking rules, and ensuring that data is collected and processed in accordance with user consent.

4. Testing and validation: Once the implementation is complete, I will thoroughly test your website to ensure that consent preferences are being properly collected and applied. I will validate that data is being collected and processed in accordance with user consent and that your implementation is compliant with relevant laws and regulations.

5. Training and support: I will provide training to your team on how to use and maintain your Google Consent Mode implementation. I will also offer ongoing support to ensure that your implementation remains up-to-date and compliant as regulations and best practices evolve.

Benefits of working with a consultant:

1. Expertise and experience: As a consultant specializing in Google Consent Mode, I have the expertise and experience necessary to guide you through the implementation process. I stay up-to-date with the latest best practices and regulatory requirements, so you can trust that your implementation is in good hands.

2. Time-saving and efficiency: Implementing Google Consent Mode can be a time-consuming and complex process, especially if you’re not familiar with the technical details. By working with a consultant, you can save time and ensure a more efficient implementation process, allowing you to focus on your core business activities.

3. Compliance and risk mitigation: One of the primary benefits of working with a consultant is ensuring that your Google Consent Mode implementation is fully compliant with relevant laws and regulations. I will help you navigate the legal landscape and mitigate the risks associated with non-compliance, giving you peace of mind and protecting your business from potential penalties.

4. Customized solutions: Every website is unique, with its own set of data collection requirements and user consent preferences. As a consultant, I will work closely with you to develop customized solutions that meet your specific needs and align with your business goals.

5. Long-term support and partnership: Implementing Google Consent Mode is not a one-time event – it requires ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure continued compliance and effectiveness. By working with a consultant, you can establish a long-term partnership that provides ongoing support and guidance as your needs and the regulatory landscape evolve. In summary, working with a consultant like myself can provide significant benefits when implementing Google Consent Mode. From expertise and time-saving to compliance and customized solutions, I am here to help you navigate this new feature and ensure a successful, compliant implementation

So what are you waiting for? Fill in the contact form below or mail me at dave@organicdigital.co

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