As Google plans to sunset third-party cookies this year, the need for enhanced privacy measures takes centre stage. For customers utilizing Google’s online and offline solutions and handling data from end users in the European Economic Area (EEA), recent updates to Google’s consent mode are set to shape the future of online interactions. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore Google’s Consent Mode and take a look at some of the updates you need to know regarding consent mode for EEA traffic:

What is Consent Mode?

Consent Mode focuses on gathering extra signals from users who haven’t consented to personal data or browser storage access for data collection. Google then uses these signals to model conversions (Google Ads, Floodlight, etc.) and visitor behaviour (Google Analytics 4).

By avoiding access to browser storage, analytics and advertising pings from users that do not consent use random, short-lived identifiers instead of cookies with personal data. Unconsented data undergoes a modelling process to resemble data from consenting users before appearing in Google reports.

What’s new in Consent Mode V2? 

In V2, the initial Consent Mode signals (ad_storage for advertising cookies and analytics_storage for analytics cookies) are developed by two extra signals:

ad_user_data: signifies user consent for using personal data in advertising.

ad_personalization: indicates user consent for data usage in remarketing.

Consent Mode also includes advanced settings like ads_data_redaction, which blocks click identifiers and third-party cookies in ads. The additional allow_ad_personalization_signals setting determines Google’s access to data. In case of conflicts, the strictest setting prevails for data protection.

Upholding privacy in digital advertising 

Google’s dedication to a privacy-centric digital advertising ecosystem is evident in the strengthened enforcement of the EU user consent policy. Advertisers, relying on Google’s suite of solutions, are now required to adhere to this policy for the utilization of ad personalization.

This enforcement action will also impact measurement features and apply to data from:

  • Websites: Tags that send data to Google.
  • Apps: SDKs that send data to Google.
  • Data uploads: Tools to upload data from non-Google sources, such as offline conversion imports or store sales.

To continue using measurement features, ad personalization, and remarketing features, you must collect consent for using personal data from end users based in the EEA and share consent signals with Google. The requirements also apply if you use Google Analytics data with a Google service.

The impact of this enforcement extends beyond personalized ads to encompass measurement features and data from websites, apps, and data uploads, underlining the comprehensive approach to user privacy. 

Consent mode evolution 

For those tracking user behaviour with Google tags on websites or apps, the consent mode changes are crucial. If your audience includes users from the EEA, it becomes essential to pass through end-user consent choices to Google. Consent mode, the foundation of this transition, empowers you to tailor Google tag behaviour based on the visitor’s interaction with the consent banner on your website. 

Google’s updated consent mode API introduces two additional parameters: 

  • ad_user_data (string): Sets consent for sending user data to Google for advertising purposes. 
  • ad_personalization (string): Sets consent for personalized advertising. 

Understanding the distinction is vital – disabling personalized advertising using allow_ad_personalization_signals yields the same results as using ad_personalization. To honour user choices, implementing ad_personalization is essential. 

Embracing change for a privacy-focused future 

Adapting to these changes positions advertisers for success in a landscape where user privacy is paramount. By aligning strategies with the evolving consent mode, businesses can continue to leverage the full range of advertising capabilities while respecting user choices. 

As we navigate the future of digital advertising, these updates highlight the industry’s commitment to empowering users and fostering a privacy-centric online environment. Stay informed, implement necessary changes, and embrace the era of enhanced user privacy. 

If you want to learn more about the upcoming changes to Google’s consent mode and how to navigate it, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.