21st December 2021

Google Consent Mode

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Robert Stalham
Senior Web Analytics Executive
Read time: 5min
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Gathering data is essential for gaining valuable information about the performance of your website, and with the increasing difficulty in retaining that data using cookies with GDPR restrictions, Ad Blockers and various web browsers available to the user – Googles consent mode is a welcome addition to the set-up of Google based tags and future retention of valuable data.

Google consent mode should be a consideration when implementing a consent management platform (CMP) and is not a stand-alone solution to consent management. This blog post serves as a high-level overview of Google consent mode and what impact it has on your collected data.

What is Google consent mode, and what's the point?

In a nutshell, Google consent mode is a way to ensure that some data is gathered by Google’s various platforms in the form of 'cookie-less pings'. The 'pings' are essentially packets of data sent by your browser to Googles servers. Consent ping data will allow for data modelling for conversions on the various Google platforms in future iterations for unconsented users.  

Where is Google consent mode supported?

Currently google consent mode is supported by Google Ads, Floodlights, Google Analytics and Conversion Linker.

What data is gathered by Google consent mode, and what is it used for?

The following 'pings' are sent for non-consented users:

Consent status pings:

(Google Ads and Floodlight tags): These pings allow the current level of consent to be sent to Google with a status granted or denied.

Conversion pings:

These pings are to record a conversion for floodlight tags.

Google Analytics pings:

Basic page and event data is sent to Google for future modelling.

Here's a summary as described by Google as to what information can be included in pings:

  • Timestamp – time of pageview
  • User-agent – browser information
  • Referrer – previous page or site path
  • Ad Click Information – was the URL previously clicked a paid Ad?
  • Consent state-granted or denied
  • Consent platform – Was consent mode deployed by a specific consent management platform? (Such as OneTrust)

How does Google consent mode work?

For consent mode to work on supported tags such as Google Analytics and Google
Ads, the tags must be allowed to fire as intended, and a default level of consent needs to be set for each category of consent.

The categories for consent that are either accepted or denied are 'Ad Storage' or 'Analytics Storage'.

For example, you might require users to explicitly accept permission for cookies to be set for targeting and performance cookies on your website, in this case, you would set 'Ad Storage' and 'Analytics Storage' to 'denied' by default until such permission is 'granted'. If permission isn't granted then the previously mentioned 'pings' are sent for supported tags, and no cookies are set.

There are other consent types that are supported by Google Tag Manager that allow for tags to be prevented from firing based upon consent status, such as 'functionality storage', 'personalisation storage' and 'security storage'.

When to use google consent mode?

Google consent mode should be a consideration for your Google tags when you are obliged to implement a consent management tool, and you should enquire about the level of support for Google consent mode offered by your particular CMP (consent management platform) of choice.

Some examples of these are as below: (provided by Google)

Table

 (Google, 2021)

So, I can start using the data collected by Google Consent Mode straight away? Right?

Not exactly, the data collected by Google via the consent mode pings aren't directly available in your reports, but will be used in cross channel conversion and behavioural modelling in Google Analytics 4 and in future reports which are to be confirmed! Further reading on Google Consent Mode and data modelling:

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9976101

https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/10031513

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/10710245?hl=en

If you would like help navigating your consent software and tagging please drop us a line!