Let’s start at the beginning just to be sure we are all clear – user consent must be obtained in order to gain any access to information stored ‘or’ to store any information on a person’s device (phone, tablet, computer) through the use of cookies (you can read more about cookie consent in this previous journal entry).

In order to utilise cookies on a website, user consent is required (as set out in Regulation 5(3) of the ePrivacy Regulations). Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), consent must be a clear, affirmative act, freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous.

Google Consent Mode is a tool that enables websites to communicate users’ cookie consent choices to various Google tags that help measure website and advertising performance.

Consent mode does not provide a consent banner or widget. Rather, consent mode interacts with your current consent banner to obtain visitor consent (or not based on the user decision) and dynamically adapts the behaviour of Analytics, Ads, and third-party tags that create or read cookies.

Google describes it as a mechanism that allows websites to gather data on website conversions while respecting user privacy settings. Consent Mode v2 is a more advanced version than its predecessor that requires explicit user consent for cookies and data usage – particularly for personalised ads and analytics. 

This upgrade aligns with stricter privacy regulations and aims to ensure that data is handled in a way that respects user choices and legal requirements, especially within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Google is acting on the effects of privacy regulations like the GDPR, the ePrivacy Directive and newer legislations such as the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Therefore, the new Google Consent Mode is more a requirement than an option for websites that want to accurately track conversions and effectively optimise their advertising spend moving forward. Google Consent Mode v2 represents one of Google’s initiatives to promote and ensure compliance on the web, including their own adherence to these regulations.

When complying with privacy regulations and offering users a choice to consent to data processing, some users will of course ‘opt out’. This lack of consent can challenge digital marketers and advertisers in ascertaining their campaign performance, as they dont have the ‘full picture of user engagement’. 

Consent Mode v2 helps advertisers regain a significant portion of this lost data in a privacy-compliant manner through aggregated and anonymised data reporting. While individual data from non-consenting users isn’t available, aggregated data can still offer valuable insights into campaign performance and user behaviour. To assist with aggregated and anonymised data Google employs AI/Machine Learning to bridge these gaps. It analyses data and trends from consenting users to estimate the behaviour of non-consenting users.

Believe it or not, we have tried to make this overview as least technical as possible 🙂

What next?

Basically you need to update your site’s consent mode and cookies policy if you have active Google Ads and you need to ensure this is completed by March 2024.

Enabling Consent Mode v2 is essential if you want to:

  • Stay compliant with current EU privacy legislation safeguarding against penalties and potential legal action
  • Collect valuable data related to EEA users interacting with your website or ads
  • Run effective ad campaigns

Most cookie consent solutions like Cookiebot, One Trust, Consent Manager, CookieFirst, Osano and indeed our own provider/solution are Consent Mode v2 are Google verified and compliant with these updates.

Check out our support services, and if you need assistance? get in touch we’d love to work with you.

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