Google Consent Mode & EU User Consent Policy: Ginny Marvin Answers 14 Frequently Asked Questions

Starting in 2024, you’ll need to get user consent for more Google advertising features across websites, apps, and data uploads. This includes measurement, ad personalisation, and remarketing. Got any questions? Google Ads expert Ginny Marvin answers top 14 FAQs.

Google is strengthening their European user consent policy to protect user privacy. This means advertisers need clear permission from users in the European Economic Area (EEA) before collecting their data for certain features.

What do you need to do?

  • Collect user consent: Make sure your website or app has a way for users in the EEA to agree to their data being used for measurement, ad personalisation, and remarketing.
  • Share consent signals with Google: Once you have consent, send it to Google so we can respect user preferences.

Still using Google Analytics?

Don’t forget, the consent requirement also applies if you use Google Analytics data with any other Google advertising service.

To help users navigate the changes, Google Ads expert Ginny Marvin took to LinkedIn to share an FAQ on Consent Mode for Google advertisers: 

Here are some of the top questions and answers unlocked for you: 

Q. What is Consent Mode and the V2 update?

A. Consent Mode allows you to adjust how your Google tags behave based on the consent status of your users from the EEA. V2 of Consent Mode includes two new additional parameters to set consent for ad personalisation & remarketing purposes. 

Q. If I’m not based in the EEA, do I need to use Consent Mode?

A. Consent mode is a tool to help ensure your adherence to Google’s EU user consent policy. It also enables ad personalisation and measurement.

Here’s what Google’s EU user consent policy says:

  • This policy applies if you use any Google product and your users come from Europe (including the UK).
  • You need to tell your users clearly how you use their data and get their permission for specific things (like storing data or showing personalised ads).
  • If you don’t follow the rules, Google might restrict your use of their products.

For Websites and Apps You Control:

You need to ask your users for their permission to:

  • Store information on their devices (like cookies).
  • Use their data to show them personalised ads.
  • Keep a record of who said yes and make it easy for them to change their mind later.
  • Be clear about who else might see their data and how they’ll use it.

For Websites and Apps You Don’t Control:

  • You should try to ensure the owner of that site/app also follows these rules.

Q. Should I implement Consent Mode if I’m not planning to use tag-based remarketing in the EEA?

A. Consent mode also enables conversion tracking when consent is provided and conversion modelling when users don’t consent to ads or analytics cookies. 

When you implement consent mode in its advanced version, Google tags load the consent mode API when a user opens the website or app and do the following:

  • Set default consent states. By default, consent will be denied, unless you set your own defaults.
  • While consent is denied, the Google tags send cookieless pings.
  • Wait for user interaction with the banner and update consent states.

When visitors deny consent, consent-aware tags do not store cookies. Instead, tags communicate consent state and user activity by sending the following types of cookieless pings, or signals, to the Google server:

  • Consent state pings for Google Ads and Floodlight tags: Communicate the default consent state that you have configured and the updated state when the visitor grants or denies consent for each consent type.
  • Conversion pings: Indicate that a conversion has occurred.
  • Google Analytics pings: Sent from each page of a website where Google Analytics is implemented on load and when events are logged.

Only when a user grants consent to data collection, Google tags send the full measurement data. 

The Advanced implementation enables improved modelling compared to the Basic one as it provides an advertiser-specific model as opposed to a general model.

Q. What’s the easiest way to implement consent mode? 

A. The most convenient option is to work with a Google CMP partner. They keep up with changes dynamically. For example with the V2 update for consent mode, the API already incorporates the 2 new parameters. 

Using Consent Mode with CMP partnerships is easier than ever.

They’ll help manage cookie consent banners and direct the consent management process which begins when a user lands on your website and makes a consent choice on a CMP banner. The CMP then communicates that choice to the Google tag via Consent Mode, and the tag adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

Q. If we’re using a Google CMP partner for consent management, do we need to take any action? 

A. If you’re using a Google CMP partner, you should check with them to ensure you are leveraging consent mode upgrade (V2) and they can help automatically upgrade.  If you are using a custom solution, please check with your Google CMP partner about whether any action is needed. 

Q. Is there a guide for consent mode implementation if we aren’t using a Google CMP partner?

A. Developers that maintain their own consent solution on their website and want to integrate consent mode to do so without a CMP partner. For an introduction to consent mode, read Consent mode overview. 

You can implement consent mode in a basic or advanced way. Check your company’s guidelines to pick an implementation method and which defaults to set. 

To know more, read this guide for developers on implementing consent management.

Q. And as a reminder…When do I need to ensure Consent Mode V2 is implemented?

A. By March 2024 to ensure personalisation capabilities (such as tag-based remarketing) continue to work as expected. 

Q. Is there a specific deadline in March to implement consent mode v2? 

A. I don’t have a specific date to share but strengthened enforcement will begin in March. Customers should take action by then. 

Q. Does this change impact UK traffic as well?

A. For those with traffic in the UK, the EU user consent policy applies to advertisers with end users in the EEA and the UK. So, UK organisations advertising in the EEA should also adopt these updates for Consent Mode V2.

Q. Will I lose conversion measurement in addition to remarketing capabilities without Consent Mode V2 implemented?

A.  If you have Consent Mode implemented but don’t update to V2 by March, you won’t have the option to remarket or personalise ads to these audiences in the future. To retain measurement for these audiences, you should implement consent mode by the end of 2024. 

Q. What impact on ad performance could I expect to see if we don’t implement Consent Mode V2 by March? 

A. It’ll depend on a number of factors, but customers who don’t implement Consent Mode V2 by March will lose ad personalisation and retargeting capabilities for their EEA visitors. And, customers who fail to comply with the EU user consent policy, risk having their accounts limited or suspended and/or their agreement terminated. 

Q. Should I implement Consent Mode V2 even if I don’t meet the current data thresholds for conversion modelling?

A. Consent mode enables your users’ consent choices to be passed to Google. Businesses of any size who want to use ad personalisation for and gain insights from traffic in the EEA should implement Consent Mode V2 by March. 

Q. Will I lose features in Google Ads or GA4 if I don’t implement Consent Mode V2?

A. You won’t lose access to features, per se, but you will lose ad personalisation & remarketing capabilities for your EEA traffic without Consent Mode V2 implemented. And, failure to comply with the EU user consent policy may result in your account being limited or suspended your use of Google Ads or GA4 and/or terminate your agreement. 

Q. Should I implement enhanced conversions in both Google Ads and GA4?

A. If you’re using Google Ads conversion actions, you should use Google ads enhanced conversions.

If you’re using GA4 for cross-channel conversion measurement, then you should use Google Analytics enhanced conversions. 

If you’re doing both, you can opt to set them both up in the same property. Be aware of which one you are bidding to and including in the Conversion counts to avoid double counting. Your Google Ads conversion tracking setup should only include the appropriate conversions in the Conversions column. 

By understanding Google’s Consent Mode v2 and the EU User Consent Policy, advertisers can take necessary steps to ensure compliance and maintain personalisation and remarketing functionalities for EEA traffic. Implementing these changes before March 2024 is crucial to avoid potential disruptions and maximise campaign effectiveness.

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