25th October 2023

Protect user data and build trust with Google Consent Mode

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Ed Perry
Ad Ops Manager
Read time: 5min
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As internet users become increasingly concerned about privacy, more and more regulations have been introduced to manage the way businesses and organisations process their website visitors’ data. These regulations don’t only impact the way website owners process personal identifying information (PII) such as email addresses, but affect any website data which could be used to identify an individual site visitor.

This means that any business collecting data for web analytics or advertising (using tools like Google Tag, Google Ads tags, or the Meta Pixel) must adopt strategies to ensure compliance with data protection regulations. However, it can be difficult to do this while maintaining marketing and analytics capabilities.

Google consent mode is a powerful tool designed to help website owners navigate these difficult waters. But what is Google consent mode? How does it work? And why is it so essential for businesses seeking to respect user privacy?

What Is Google Consent Mode?

Consent mode is a Google API designed to help website owners address the challenges posed by regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It allows businesses and organisations to manage user consent for analytics and advertising, while ensuring compliance with data protection laws.

Consent mode interacts with the website’s method for obtaining visitor consent, such as a cookie consent banner. The API receives users' consent choices from the cookie banner and dynamically adapts the behavior of analytics and marketing tags to comply with those choices. Google Tag Manager (GTM) has built-in consent mode integrations, allowing for bulk management of the consent settings for analytics and advertising tags.

How does Google Consent Mode work?

Google consent mode allows website owners to easily adjust the behavior of tags, such as Google Analytics and Google Ads tags, based on users’ consent status. Here's how it works:

  1. Data Collection: When a user visits a website, Google consent mode allows the website to collect limited information without explicit consent, such as IP address or the presence of consent cookies.
  2. Consent Management: The website displays consent forms or banners to users, requesting permission to collect data for purposes like analytics, advertising, and personalisation.
  3. Data Processing: Based on the user's chosen level of consent, consent mode instructs tags to process or restrict data accordingly. For example, tags may be configured to collect and send data to Google only if the user provides affirmative consent. Using GTM for tag management streamlines this process.
  4. Consent Changes: If a user changes their consent preference during the visit, consent mode dynamically adjusts tag behavior to match the updated level of consent.

Why is Google Consent Mode important?

It’s tempting to assume that consent mode is only useful for compliance, but there are actually a number of reasons businesses and organisations benefit from using consent mode.

  1. Compliance: Google consent mode is a valuable tool for ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations like GDPR. It allows businesses to collect and process user data only with proper consent, reducing the risk of regulatory penalties.
  2. User Trust: By respecting user privacy and obtaining clear consent, websites build trust with their visitors. Users are more likely to engage with websites that prioritize their privacy.
  3. User Experience: Google consent mode can enable personalized experiences by allowing data collection for users who have provided consent. This results in more relevant content and targeted advertising.
  4. Informing Strategy: Using Consent Mode, businesses and organisations can continue to collect valuable user data while respecting consent choices, enabling opportunities for data-driven decisions and marketing strategies.

A vital tool for digital advertising

Google consent mode is a vital tool for website owners and marketers. By implementing consent mode alongside an effective GTM setup, businesses and organisations can navigate the complexities of data protection, foster positive user experiences, and make informed marketing decisions while remaining compliant with regulatory demands.

While consent mode was first released in 2020, its relevance and importance for advertisers is only growing. Google is continuing to release additional functionality for consent mode, such as recently announced solutions for anonymising custom GTM variables on the client-side, removing the need to redact this data in a server-side container.

If your business isn't using Google consent mode yet, please get in touch now to find out how equimedia can help.









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Author Ed Perry
Channel Website