Everything you need to know about Consent Mode

Cookie consent regulations and tracking are changing in March 2024 for the EEA, and predictably soon for the UK, with Google’s enforcement of EU User Consent Policy.

But what does this mean for you?

In the EEA, by March 2024 Consent Mode will be mandatory for anyone using Google Advertising, whether you choose the Basic or Advanced version. (Jump to the difference by clicking here).

Without it, for those advertising in the EEA user data tracking will no longer work, preventing conversion tracking and gathering of remarketing audiences. There is a good chance the UK is next.

Why is this?

This dramatic change is a result of rising user expectations around privacy. 

Evidenced in a 2024 study by StationX in which 82% of consumers are concerned about how their data is collected and used. 

As trust deteriorates users demand more control over their data, leading to Google, and other platforms, ‘scrapping’ of third-party data, and increasing restrictions on the use of personal data.

Why this is a big deal?

Without Consent Mode, tracking tags would pick up the conversions on your site no matter the users choice to accept or reject cookies.

With the new regulations, the rejection of cookies by a user will automatically stop any Google Tracking Tags from logging valuable actions on your site.

Google stated that 76% of site visitors ignore cookie consent banners, and now that your policy must present the option to decline, Google Ads will see very different data.

Without this data, it is impossible to optimise your account and spend effectively on ads. 

As we are becoming increasingly machine learning-driven, having representative figures to learn from could mean the difference between success and failure of your data-driven campaigns.

Further still, the ability to run personalised ads and remarketing will be shrunk.

So here’s where Consent Mode comes in.

What is Consent Mode?

Advanced Consent Mode is Google’s solution to these new regulations. (Basic Consent Mode does not have the same ability.)

By integrating with your cookie banner, Advanced Consent Mode is said to pick up at least 50% of those ad-click-to-conversions lost.

When cookies are accepted, all tracking remains as normal. 

The difference is that when users reject cookies, Advanced Consent Mode sends a signal that initiates a cookieless, data-driven tracking system.

Without going into too much technical detail, using an aggregation of observable data – such as the behavior of previously tracked similar website users – a conversion model is created that predicts the real-time number of untracked conversions.

Basic vs Advanced Consent Mode

You need Advanced Consent Mode to get the most accurate conversion tracking possible. 

Basic Consent Mode will block all tags until a cookie consent choice is made by the user. Essentially meaning your tracking will default to ‘reject’ unless the user signals otherwise, and you will get no information from their session until they do.

Advanced Consent Mode is slightly more advanced. Before any action by the user to accept or reject cookies is made, without using cookies, you will gather nonidentifiable data. Although not usable for advertising purposes, this data helps generate a more accurate interpretation of conversions lost to consent.

How to install it

To successfully integrate Consent Mode v2 and begin tracking, we suggest working with a Consent Management Platform (CMP).

Google works alongside a catalogue of certified CMPs for this purpose, which you can view by clicking here.

In a nutshell…

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