Google Consent Mode

What is Google Consent Mode?

Get valuable insights from campaigns and measure website traffic even when your users say no to cookies.

Google Consent Mode

Google has introduced Consent Mode to offer websites and advertisers more flexibility when using Google products together with cookie banners and consent management platforms

With Consent Mode your website can recover vital insights into how effective your digital campaigns are at attracting leads and driving online sales even when your users do not accept cookies

Consent Mode integrates smoothly with Cookie Information, so now you can get the data you need even if users reject cookies. 

Here we’ll tell you how.  

Table of Contents

Target with Google Consent Mode

What is Google Consent Mode?

Consent Mode is an API developed by Google in 2020.

It offers you more flexibility in how you can use Google products together with your cookie consent management platform.

Consent Mode modifies how Google products behave before and after your website visitors make their consent choices. This allows you to measure conversions more effectively, while respecting your users’ consent choices for advertising cookies and analytics cookies.

Effectively, this means that you will be able to preserve conversion measurement, while your tags behave in a consent-aware manner.

*Consent Mode is not a way to “circumvent” cookies: the API seeks to respect end user consent and offer alternative measurement approaches.

How does Google Consent Mode work?

Google Consent Mode uses 5 tags to control the behavior of Google tags and cookies.

  • ad_storage
  • analytics_storage
  • functionality_storage
  • personalization_storage
  • security_storage

When a user visits your website, she can either give or reject consent to cookies. 

Consent Mode then receives the information about your users’ consent status directly from the Cookie Information Consent Pop-up. 

Based on your user’s decision to give consent to cookies or not, Google Consent Mode basically operates on two separate strings:

When consent is given, the associated tags will function normally, and you can make use of Google Ads and Google Analytics’ cookies for measurement and retargeting (business as usual). 

If the user does not consent, Consent Mode uses pings to communicate that events have happened. 

Events that pings are used for are:

  • Consent status: Pings are sent from each page a user visits (this also includes whether consent given by the user has been changed) for each cookie category.
  • Conversions: If a conversion happens, pings are sent to inform that this has taken place.
  • Google Analytics: Pings are sent on the pages where Google Analytics has been implemented – any visits and events get logged.

Although you may miss out on the possibility to get detailed data about your visitors for retargeting campaigns and personalized advertising, you will still be able to measure conversions from Ads campaigns and website traffic. 

Source: Google’s blog – Measure conversions while respecting user consent choices

how does google consent mode work | Cookie Information
An example of how Consent Mode works with or without a consent to cookies
Using Google consent mode with Google Ads

Using Consent Mode with Google Ads

Attributing conversions to the campaign that drove users to the site is vital for any advertiser. It helps better optimize campaigns and budgets to the best performing campaigns. With Consent Mode, you can now get better insights into conversion data, when users decline ads/marketing cookies. 

The tag “ad_storage” controls cookie behavior for advertising purposes, including conversion measurement. 

Dependent on the user’s consent choice, the tag will adjust whether to use marketing cookies as normal or to attribute conversions using pings.

With Consent Mode your website will still be able to record and measure conversions from Google Ads, Campaign Manager, Display & Video 360, and Search Ads 360, while respecting your users’ privacy.

Google puts it this way. Say someone visits your website and makes a conversion. If that user accepts cookies, including marketing cookies, in your cookie pop-up, reporting continues as normal. If the user does not accept cookies, the ad_storage tag will adjust and not read/write any marketing cookies. You will still receive data on conversions, but at a more aggregated level. 

Using Consent Mode with Google Analytics

Consent Mode also works with Google Analytics.

Analytics will also respect your users’ consent choice for ads/marketing cookies. If your user doesn’t consent to marketing cookies, Google Analytics will not read or write ads cookies meaning that features which rely on Google signals, such as remarketing, are disabled.

Google also introduces the analytics_storage tag which controls analytics/statistics cookie use. Like ad_storage, it is based on the consent decision made by your user. 

The tag adjusts data collection dependent on whether the user consents to analytics/statistic cookies.

If your user accepts analytics/statistic cookies, cookies are used, and tracking will progress as normal. All data will be collected by Google Analytics. 

If your user does not consent to analytics cookies (and marketing cookies), no cookies related to Google Analytics will be used.

However, cookieless pings are sent to Google Analytics for basic measurement and future modeling purposes.

This data will be aggregated and only inform you of visitors and page views, so the data cannot be used for retargeting.

Which services does Google Consent Mode support?

Consent Mode supports a number of Google’s products including: 

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads (Google Ads Conversion Tracking and Remarketing)
  • Floodlight
  • Conversion Linker

This means, that even with your users declining cookies, you will still receive aggregated non-identifying data like: 

  • Timestamp (visits to your website)
  • User Agent (whether users visit your website)
  • Referrer (how the users got to your website)
  • Ad-click information in the URL (e.g., GCLID / DCLID)
  • Boolean information about the consent state
  • Random number generated on each page load

With these data you can optimize on landing pages, ad copy and budgets to make your campaigns perform better.  

Consent Mode works actively with your CMP.

The tags Google uses correspond to the cookie purpose categories in your cookie banner:

  • ad_storage → marketing category
  • analytics _storage → marketing category
  • functionality_storage → functional category
  • personalization_storage → functional category
  • security_storage → necessary category

Getting started with Google Consent Mode

Consent Mode is integrated by default in Cookie Information’s Consent Management Platform. 

With Cookie Information’s Consent Solution, you get a cookie banner that is GDPR compliant and you get the possibility to get aggregated data with Consent Mode. 

Get the data you need for Google Analytics and Ads to measure the success of your content marketing and ads campaigns.

Try our Consent Solution with Google Consent Mode for 30 days!

Do you already have Cookie Information’s Consent Solution, please follow this simple guide and you’re on your way to collecting valuable metrics for Analytics and Ads:

How to get started with Consent Mode – for existing Cookie Information clients