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Google Consent Mode, Cookies and What You Need To Know

March 12, 2024

Recent updates from Google are now set to dramatically alter how cookies and ad-tracking tools are being used, and the most recent change for 2024 is the introduction of Consent Mode. 

For many years, companies across the globe have used internet cookies to track traffic to websites, enhance user experiences, and collect key data that helps them target ads to the correct audiences. Cookies have also supplied valuable information on what content visitors are interested in on their websites and which areas they seldom spend time on. Being able to see what type of content is engaging to their audience is vital for any business and cookies have proved useful for generating reports and providing insight in Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

In this blog, we explain what Google Consent Mode is and how you can check to see if your website is compliant.

What is Google Consent Mode?

Google Consent Mode V1 was initially released back in 2020 when Google announced its intentions to phase out third-party cookies by 2022 on Chrome Browsers, in line with its Privacy Sandbox initiative. Google Consent Mode V2 was communicated in recent months with this now being a mandatory practice from 6th March 2024.

Enabling Consent Mode allows your website to communicate your visitor’s consent status to Google. When a user declines or accepts your cookie banner, their preference will be sent to Google which will store this information and dynamically adapt the behaviour in GA4 and Google Ads, or any other third-party tool you may also be using, such as the Meta Pixel. There are two types of Consent Modes; basic and advanced.

How to implement Google Consent Mode?

You can implement Consent Mode in two ways; via a Consent Management Platform, or by creating a banner that you maintain. Our advice would be to make use of the multiple tools that are out there. At Fifteen, we recommend a tool named CookieYes to our clients as this is the tool that we have found to impact our clients websites Core Web Vitals the least.

What is the difference between advanced and basic Consent Mode?

When you implement the basic Consent Mode, Google tags can not fire until a user interacts with your Cookie Pop-Up banner. This can be problematic from a tracking point of view as a users consent status or behaviours are not sent to Google. This means your ads can struggle to perform effectively and you don’t have access to a true view of data in GA4.

Advanced Consent Mode loads Google tags when a user visits the website and stores the consent as denied by default. However, the advanced mode will send ‘cookie-less pings’ which uses machine learning to create behaviour modelling in Analytics and Ads. Google behaviour modelling predicts with AI, the behaviour of those who have declined cookies based on similar user behaviour of those who have accepted. Without this behavioural modelling, you would not be able to understand how these cookie-less users are interacting on your site. This also includes getting information on user and session metrics, such as daily active users and conversion rate. This can leave you and your marketing team wondering why your traffic and conversion rate has declined.

How do I find out if I have advanced or basic Consent Mode activated?

You can test if you have Consent Mode correctly implemented by troubleshooting the setup with Google’s Verify Consent Mode implementation page. This will only tell you if you have Consent Mode activated, and unfortunately won’t tell you if you have the basic or advanced mode. The best way to check this is to check with your Consent Management Platform, or to speak to your web developer if you have created and are managing these yourselves. 

I have a Cookie Pop-Up Banner does this mean I am compliant?

This will all depend on the type of cookie banner you have implemented. Our recommended tool CookieYes is automatically set to ensure that your website is compliant with Basic Consent Mode V1. If you already have CookieYes installed, then you will need to make an update with a web developer to add in the new piece of code to make your site compliant with Consent Mode V2.

Other cookie banner tools will also require some code update by a web developer of Google Tag Manager (GTM), depending on your installation. If you have your own bespoke and fully managed cookie pop-up, this may not automatically make your site compliant with Consent Mode V1, or the most recent V2. Our team can help you understand whether or not you are compliant by having a quick chat and running some tests. Speak to us today if this is something you’d like us to do.

What happens if we are found to be non-compliant?

As this is now mandatory, Google has the ability to penalise websites by way of blocking your Google Ads account and stopping you from being able to advertise until updated. For some businesses, Google Ads is an important source of revenue and it is critical that this does not happen to your website. To avoid being penalised, be sure to use the Google Consent Checker tool or check within the Google Ads interface to see if your Consent Mode is enabled.

Speak to our experts for more help

We understand these new updates from Google may be confusing to many, but we’re here to help. If you’d like us to check and see if your website is compliant, or you’re looking to learn more about these updates, Google Consent Mode and cookies, don’t hesitate to contact us today.




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