Google Consent Mode V2: Everything You Need To Know About The Latest Update

Starting March 2024, Google will require websites to display a consent banner compatible with the updated Google Consent Mode V2. Here’s everything you need to know about the update, how it differs from the last version and if there’s an impact on server-side tracking.

Introduced in late November 2023, Google Consent Mode V2 is an updated version of the original Consent Mode developed by Google.

According to Google, all websites using Google services must adopt the updated Google Consent Mode V2 by March 2024. This improved system allows websites to effectively communicate user choices regarding cookie consent to Google’s tracking tools. Not just that, the new system ensures users have clearer control over how their data is used.

Under this system, features like personalised ad targeting in Google Ads and Google Analytics will only be available if users explicitly consent and this consent is communicated to Google through Google Consent Mode V2. By the end of 2024, this requirement will also extend to all conversion tracking activities. Here’s everything you need to know about the update, how it differs from the last version and if there’s an impact on server-side tracking.

Key Features of Consent Mode V2

Google Consent Mode V2 introduces two additional parameters to protect user privacy:

ad_user_data: This parameter governs whether user data can be transmitted to Google for advertising purposes.

ad_personalization: This parameter controls whether personalised advertising, often known as remarketing, can be activated.

These parameters ensure that personal data is only shared with Google’s services, such as Google Ads, Google Shopping, and Google Play, when explicit user consent has been granted.

What Are The Two Implementation Options?

Google Consent Mode V2 offers two options for websites to manage user consent to data collection:

Basic Consent Mode

Simpler setup: This option is straightforward and requires less technical setup.

Limited data collection: When users decline cookies, no data is collected, including anonymized data. This may reduce website insights and analytics.

Implementation steps:

Use a Consent Management Platform (CMP) to manage user consent.

Configure the website to disable data collection tags (e.g., Google Analytics 4) when users refuse cookies.

Send a consent flag to Google notifying them of the user’s choice.

Advanced Consent Mode

More nuanced approach: This option allows for some data collection even when users decline cookies.

Anonymous data modelling: When users refuse cookies, the website can send anonymised data pings to Google for modelling purposes. This can provide some insights for Google Ads and Analytics, but not individual user data.

Implementation steps:

Use a CMP for user consent management.

Configure the website to send a consent flag to Google but not set cookies for Google Analytics 4 when users refuse cookies.

Send anonymised data pings to Google for modelling.

Choosing the right mode depends on the website's specific needs and preferences.

Basic Consent Mode offers simplicity and user privacy, while Advanced Consent Mode enables some data collection even when users decline cookies.

What Are The New Rules for Targeting Ads?

Following new data privacy regulations in Europe, especially the Digital Markets Act (DMA), targeting ads effectively will require changes for advertisers and publishers.

Why is this important?

The DMA requires clear user consent for collecting and using data. To comply, Google Ads now requires using “Consent Mode V2,” a system to send user consent choices to Google. By March 2024, without Consent Mode V2, Google Ads and Google Analytics 4 will not collect data about new users in the European Economic Area (EEA). This could limit how you target and measure your advertising campaigns.

What do you need to do?

Display a cookie banner: You need a “consent management platform” (CMP) to manage user consent choices through a compliant cookie banner. The banner language must meet Google’s standards for GDPR and e-privacy compliance.

Implement Google Consent Mode V2: This system sends user consent choices to Google. When users consent, data collection continues as usual. When they reject, Google limits data collection and uses “conversion modelling” to estimate conversions based on user behaviour.

Benefits of compliance:

Following these steps ensures compliance with European regulations and allows you to continue collecting valuable data for effective advertising in the EEA.

Additional notes:

Use a CMP certified by Google to simplify implementation.

Google provides resources and documentation to help you get started.

User Consent and Tracking: What You Need to Know

Whether you track user data in the browser or on the server side, obtaining their consent is essential. This rule applies under regulations like GDPR and the EU User Consent Directive, which demand clear user permission for data collection and processing.

Server-side tracking isn’t a loophole: Just because data processing happens on servers doesn't mean you can skip user consent. The responsibility still lies with you to respect user choices.

Integrating Consent Mode with Server-Side Tracking:

Set up Consent Mode in browser Google Tag Manager (GTM): This tells Google about user consent choices.

Transfer consent data to server-side GTM: Ensure server-side tracking respects user decisions, for example, preventing data sharing with Google Ads if users deny consent.

Advanced Consent Mode: This sends anonymized signals to Google even without user consent for improved data modelling in Google Analytics 4 and conversion tracking. Caution: Before using this, consult your legal team and consider potential brand image impacts. Some users might object to data collection even without explicit consent.

Remember, transparency matters. While the average user may not understand every technical detail, they deserve clear information about your data practices.

Balancing Privacy and Insights with Consent Mode V2

Consent Mode V2 empowers advertisers and website owners to adapt their data collection practices based on user consent. This helps navigate the delicate balance between respecting user privacy and gathering valuable data for insights.

Enhanced Control with Server-Side Tracking:

Combining Consent Mode V2 with server-side tracking offers several advantages:

Greater control over data flow: Data processing happens on secure servers, minimising reliance on browser cookies and enhancing data security.

Compliance and accuracy: This integration ensures data collection aligns with user consent choices, while server-side processing can improve data accuracy and reliability.

Recommended Actions:

To leverage the benefits of Consent Mode V2, we recommend:

Identify EEA traffic: Determine if your website receives visitors from the European Economic Area (EEA).Obtain user consent: Implement a Consent Management Platform (CMP) to collect user consent for EEA users.

Connect Consent Mode V2: Ensure proper configuration of Consent Mode V2 to share collected consent signals with Google tools.

Include consent with offline data: If you send data to Google via API, remember to include user consent information for EEA users.

By taking these steps, you can effectively balance privacy compliance with your data-driven needs while remaining ahead of evolving regulations.

Need a fresh perspective? Let’s talk.

At 360 OM, we specialise in helping businesses take their marketing efforts to the next level. Our team stays on top of industry trends, uses data-informed decisions to maximise your ROI, and provides full transparency through comprehensive reports.

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