Understanding Consent Mode V2

Published Mar 21 2024 Last updated Mar 30 2024 3 minute read
consent mode v2

As digital privacy continues to be a pivotal aspect of online interactions, Google's introduction of Consent Mode V2 in March 2024 is an important evolution in managing user consent. So let’s dive deeper into what this new standard entails, and discuss the implications for Google Analytics and Google Ads users.

Consent Mode V2 is designed to allow websites and apps to communicate a user’s cookie or app identifier consent status to Google. Consent mode receives users' consent choices from cookie banners or widgets and dynamically adapts the behavior of Analytics, Ads, and third-party tags. 

This mode provides a more sophisticated mechanism for gathering user data while respecting their privacy choices, particularly when cookies are denied.

What's new in Consent Mode V2?

This new mechanism introduces two new signals (or "flags") for increased control:

  • ‘ad_user_data’: Determines if data can be used for advertising purposes.
  • ‘ad_personalisation’: Specifically pertains to the use of data for personalized advertising such as remarketing.

These flags supplement the existing ‘ads_data_redaction’ setting, which, in conjunction with ‘ad_storage’, controls whether click IDs are processed and determines the domain to which data is sent in Consent Mode.

According to the experts at NoA Connect, a data-driven marketing consultancy firm, this new consent framework is actually a pretty big deal. 

Josefin Kjellbris

Josefin Kjellbris from NoA Connect

“The scale of the matter is substantial, particularly when taking into account the limited advance notice provided by Google,” said Josefin Kjellbris, analytics lead. “The ramifications are contingent upon the unique configuration of your campaigns and the interconnections among various Google products. However, broadly speaking, it is anticipated to have a significant impact on our clients.”

Basic vs. Advanced Mode

Consent Mode V2 emphasizes a clearer distinction between Basic consent mode and Advanced consent mode:

  • Basic Mode: Tags are fired only when consent is given by the user. If the user does not provide consent, no data is transferred to Google at all (i.e., the Google tags are blocked from firing).
  • Advanced Mode: The Google tags fire regardless of consent, enabling data collection even when consent is denied. When consent is denied, consent state and cookieless pings are sent. When consent is granted, cookies are written and all measurement data is sent.

Consent Mode and privacy

From a data privacy perspective, choosing the Basic Mode and sending data only when consent is granted is arguably the most straightforward approach. The Advanced Mode, while offering more extensive data collection capabilities, requires careful consideration regarding privacy implications. Consult your data protection officer to determine what the right approach is for your website or app. 

Implementing Consent Mode V2

If this is starting to seem daunting, don’t worry. You only need to implement that latest version of Consent Mode if either you use GA4 data to create audiences in other google properties, or Google Ads or Floodlight tagging is present.

In such cases, initializing Consent Mode and setting the new flags is crucial for the collected data to serve its intended purpose.

And according to Josefin at NoA Connect, organizations need to jump on this sooner rather than later.

“Failure to implement Consent Mode V2 by March 2024 will result in Google Ads not receiving audience data for EU users,” said Josefin. “This is anticipated to yield a notably adverse effect on both traffic and conversions, and it will hinder your ability to engage in personalized remarketing efforts." So, implementing Consent Mode V2 in March 2024 is essential to ensure the continued ability to do remarketing for EU users.

“Moreover, there have been speculations regarding a potential second iteration, suggesting that even the conversion data within Google Ads could be impacted if Consent Mode v2 is not implemented before the conclusion of this year.”

Manual configuration

For those using a consent management platform (CMP) that does not support Consent Mode V2, you can still configure things manually with a bit of effort. In this case, you’ll need to implement it directly in the page with JavaScript or through an HTML tag in the Google Tag Manager.

Monitoring and understanding Consent Mode

To verify the implementation of Consent Mode V2, you can look for specific parameters in the browser's network tab:

  • gcs Parameter: Indicates whether consent for Google Ads and Analytics cookies has been granted or denied.
  • gcd Parameter: Reflects the state of the new flags from Consent Mode V2, such as ‘ad_user_data’ and ‘ad_personalization’.

Additionally, the Google Tag Manager's Tag Assistant can be used to check Consent Mode settings and ensure correct implementation.

At a glance

The introduction of Consent Mode V2 represents a significant step in respecting user privacy while still allowing data collection for targeted advertising and analytics. Its implementation requires thoughtful consideration and, in some cases, manual configuration. By understanding and utilizing the new features of Consent Mode V2, businesses can ensure compliance and effective use of Google's marketing tools.

For more detailed guidance on specific tag behaviors and implementation strategies, refer to Google's Consent Mode documentation here.

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