Understanding the Basics of Consent Management and Consent Mode

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To stay compliant with privacy regulations and standards, many marketers turn to consent management platforms (CMPs). If you're not familiar with CMPs or Google’s Consent Mode, or simply want to learn more about how they can help you adhere to today’s (and tomorrow's) privacy restraints, read on. 

The Benefits of a Consent Management Platform

Essentially CMPs help you collect user consent, ensure your site is adhering to appropriate cookie policies and make it easier to change tag behavior based on the preference given. Generally speaking, most CMPs will offer:

  • Website & App Scanning: Identify and categorize cookie and tracking technologies with ongoing scanning.
  • Cookie Compliance: Maintain website compliance and design on-brand cookie banners using customizable templates.
  • Mobile App Compliance: Collect and document consent on mobile apps with templates.
  • Preference Centers: Enhance personalization and reduce opt-outs with dynamic preference centers.
  • Consumer & Data Subject Rights: Automate the full lifecycle of customer consent, from intake to fulfillment reporting.
  • Policy & Notice Management: Track centrally, and dynamically update, across websites and apps. 
  • Integration with Google's Consent Mode: Some CMPs offer an integration with Google's Consent Mode, so consent status can be communicated with Google's tags and the tag behavior can be adjusted accordingly, instead of blocked altogether. 

Pairing with Google's Consent Mode to Preserve Data Collection

Google’s Consent Mode works with your Consent Management Platforms to preserve data collection for Google platforms while respecting consent. It is an effective compromise with growing privacy regulation, marrying user consent preferences set in the CMP with the opportunity to still collect user behavior information anonymously in Google platforms. Consent Mode provides a solution to several pain points that have become apparent as the use of Consent Management Platforms becomes more common.

Consent Mode Addresses the Issue of Data Loss

The goal of Google's Consent Mode is to respect user consent and mitigate data collection risk, while also enabling websites to have accurate data sets with which they can still understand aggregate user behavioral and conversion metrics. Using traditional trigger blocking methods, we've seen significant data loss for sites that have adopted a consent management framework. 

  • When using an Opt-in Consent Model, it's typical to see up to a 70% loss in data collection. This model is typically considered required for users who are within the European Union.
  • When using an Opt-out Consent Model, it's typical to see up to a 10-20% loss in data collection. This model is typically used for users within the boundaries of CCPA's influence and generally in the greater United States. 

Google aims to address the issue of data loss by providing a mechanism for changing tag behavior based on consent, rather than blocking it altogether if consent is denied. When consent isn't given, Google still sends a cookieless ping to their servers that allow them to use this data for modeling purposes (in GA4 only), so companies can still have an accurate picture of content performance, site behavior and conversion rates, despite the loss of user identifiers. This functionality is currently only built for Google tags

Image showing the conversion path when a user clicks on an ad depending on whether the user provides consent or not.
See Google's Consent Mode Help Article for more detailed information on Consent Mode behavior. 

Consent Mode Cookieless Pings will Provide GA4 and GMP Behavioral Modeling

Behavioral Modeling in GA4 will compensate for the absence of collected data through the use of models trained on the data provided by the cookieless pings. This modeling is also currently available in Google Ads.

Text: Behavior Modeling in Google Analytics 4 properties

Consent Mode makes management of tag behavior easier for Google tags

Consent settings enable you to manage Google tag behavior more easily in Google Tag Manager (GTM). Instead of having to manage the tag's behavior on every trigger, you can now set the consent behavior that needs to occur on the tags themselves. Several Consent Management Platforms already have an integration with Consent Mode, so the consent preferences captured via the site banner can be communicated directly with Google. 

Example of consent settings options for Google Consent Mode

Questions? Reach out and we’d be happy to share more about CMPs, Google’s Consent Mode and other ways to maintain user privacy.

Please note that all of the above is meant to be informational only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Please consult with your legal counsel before implementing consent management platforms and Google's Consent Mode.