Google Consent Mode V2: How Not to Lose Your Google Ads

Let’s cut to the chase: if you do not implement Google Consent Mode V2 by March 2024 your Google PPC campaigns will collapse. Your conversion tracking will fall apart, you will lose precious traffic, and your data will be totally inaccurate. Now, don’t freak out just yet. Read this blog post on how you should act.

Google Consent Mode V2 is a new feature created by Google that lets businesses customize how Google tags work depending on whether users have given consent for ads and analytics cookies. Consent Mode V2 uses AI, particularly machine learning, in its Conversion Modeling method.

By analyzing data and patterns from users who have given consent, machine learning can predict the behavior of users who have not given consent. This helps fill in gaps in analytics and improves the analysis of conversion data. This guarantees that tracking for advertising campaigns will only happen with user consent, as indicated by Consent Mode V2.

According to Google, Consent Mode V2 is a way for websites to collect data on website conversions while still respecting user privacy settings. You should adopt Consent Mode V2 before March 2024 to accurately track conversions and optimize your advertising spending, thus avoiding any negative impacts.

Google is making changes to Consent Mode to keep up with changing privacy regulations like GDPR, ePrivacy Directive, and new laws like the Digital Markets Act. The goal is to encourage and ensure adherence to these regulations, creating an online advertising system that values and respects user privacy preferences.

After the consent mode is deployed, it will modify the behavior of the following types of pings:

  1. Consent status pings (Google Ads and Floodlight tags): These pings are sent from every page the user visits where consent mode is implemented. They are also triggered for certain tags if the consent state changes from denied to granted. For instance, if the user chooses to opt in to a consent dialog. These pings convey the default consent state set by the site owner and the updated consent state (such as granted or denied) for each consent type, like ad storage and analytics storage.
  2. Conversion pings: These pings are sent to indicate that a conversion has taken place.
  3. Google Analytics pings: These pings are sent on every page of a website where Google Analytics is implemented. They are also sent when events are logged.

Once consent mode has been integrated, you will encounter one of two statuses in your conversion diagnostics tab, signified by a green checkmark if active:

After the impact table displaying your modeling uplift disappears, you will still see the status indicating that consent mode is implemented, and modeling is active, serving as validation that consent mode is operational.

The CMP sends signals to Consent Mode V2, indicating whether a user has given consent for analytics and/or advertising. This ensures that all cookies and tracking technologies are collected legally, following privacy regulations. Also, make sure your cookie banner prevents cookies from being used until users have made their choice, and then only enable the necessary cookies once consent is provided.

When implementing Consent Mode V2, it is crucial to have a cookie banner or CMP in place. The API of Consent Mode V2 seamlessly works with the CMP, allowing Google to determine if a user granted consent for analytics and/or advertising. By including a cookie banner and CMP, you can effectively manage and obtain consents for different cookies and tracking technologies, ensuring compliance with privacy standards.

Consent Mode V2 is an upgraded version that differs from its previous version. It now necessitates explicit consent from users for the use of cookies and data, particularly for personalized ads and analytics. This enhancement is in line with stricter privacy regulations, ensuring compliance, especially within the European Economic Area (EEA). The notable improvement is the inclusion of two additional consent states related to advertising:

  • ad_user_data
  • ad_personalization.

In Consent Mode V2, the ad_user_data feature determines the sharing of personal data with Google based on user consent, encompassing services such as Google Ads, Google Shopping, and Google Play.

ad_user_data can assume one of two values, “granted” or “denied,” contingent upon the user’s consent status. If a user accepts advertising cookies on the cookie banner and agrees to share their data with Google, the ad_user_data will be configured as “granted.” It’s crucial, however, that the language used in the banner aligns with Google’s compliance standards for this to take effect.

The ad_personalization parameter regulates the utilization of personal data for remarketing purposes. Similar to ad_user_data, ad_personalization has two potential values, “granted” or “denied,” determined by user consent.

If a user consents to advertising cookies on the banner and permits Google to utilize their data for ad personalization, the ad_personalization setting will be marked as “granted.” It is essential, nonetheless, that the language employed in the banner conforms to Google’s standards to activate this functionality, mirroring the requirements of ad_user_data.

Google Consent Mode provides two levels of implementation.

Basic Consent Mode V2 Implementation:

When a user agrees to cookies, the website functions normally, activating all tags and gathering complete data. But if a user refuses to agree, no data is collected, and cookieless pings are not sent. Although this method is simple, it does have a major drawback in terms of data collection when users opt out of giving consent.

To implement Basic Consent Mode, you must:

  1. Set up a Consent Management Platform (CMP) for managing user consents.
  2. Configure your website so that, upon user rejection of cookies, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) tags or similar tags are not activated.
  3. Integrate a consent flag to communicate the user’s consent decision to Google.

Advanced Consent Mode V2 Implementation:

This method provides a more sophisticated approach. Even if users refuse to give consent for cookies, it still allows the sending of anonymous pings to Google without cookies for modeling purposes. This enables websites to retrieve certain data for Google Ads and GA4, even if user consent is not given.

In Advanced Consent Mode, the implementation involves:

  1. Utilizing a CMP for user consent management.
  2. Configuring the website so that GA4 cookies are not established when consent is denied, but a consent flag is forwarded to Google.
  3. Sending cookieless pings to Google for data modeling.

Without Consent Mode V2, the effectiveness of your measurement and reporting, audience lists, and remarketing capabilities in the EEA would be greatly reduced. Your bidding algorithms would rely on inaccurate and incomplete data, resulting in less efficient allocation of your budget. The decreased tracking of conversions could undervalue certain opportunities, leading to inaccurate bidding and less profitable budget allocation.

But this is not all. Besides Consent Mode V2, we highly recommend also implementing:

  • Enhanced Conversions,
  • and server-side tagging.

Implementing Enhanced Conversions and Server-Side Tagging alongside Consent Mode V2 can provide additional benefits for your digital marketing efforts. Check these detailed guides on how to implement each:

Conclusion

Consent Mode V2 provides a privacy-friendly method to retrieve important data from users who haven’t given their consent. By using aggregated and anonymous data reporting, you will still get valuable insights into how your campaigns are performing and understand user behavior trends. Moreover, with Consent Mode V2, conversion data is improved through conversion modeling for users who choose not to give consent, guaranteeing accurate audience targeting and measurement in Google Ads. Implement Consent Mode V2 ASAP, and don’t forget to also fire up enhanced conversions and server-side tagging.

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