What Is Google Consent Mode?

Termly Legal Team

by Termly Legal Team

May 18, 2021


Google consent mode is a new, optional feature for managing your visitors’ consent preferences when interacting with Google properties like Google Analytics and Google Ads. Google introduced this feature to allow websites to collect anonymized metrics while still honoring each user’s consent preferences.

Data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require websites to manage cookies in line with user consent. Cookie banners and other consent management tools help websites meet privacy law requirements, but they can have unintended consequences.

When users decline the use of analytics, advertising, or other types of cookies, it can take away useful data about website operations. Google’s consent mode is one way to let website owners stay in compliance with privacy laws, while still reporting valuable metrics and insights about their business.

How Does Google Consent Mode Work?

Google consent mode introduces two new tag settings — ad_storage and analytics_storage — that change behavior based on each user’s saved cookie preferences. These preferences are most commonly set via a Consent Management Solution, like Termly. Changing the tag settings will dynamically adjust Google advertising and analytics scripts to comply with a visitor’s consent preferences and international data privacy regulations.

If a user accepts advertising and analytics cookies, Google advertising and analytics scripts will function normally.

If a user declines the use of advertising or analytics cookies, the two new tag settings allow Google to collect non-identifying information. This non-identifying information can be used to measure conversions or other visitor information in aggregate.

For example, if a user declines the use of advertising cookies, consent mode will ensure that new advertising cookies are not served, existing advertising cookies are not read, and IP addresses are not logged. Google will still collect ad-click information and other anonymized data. Consent mode can also be used to redact advertising data, further anonymizing user data.

Consent mode is only applicable to Google scripts. It will not adjust the behavior of other third-party analytics or advertising scripts.

Why Use Google Consent Mode?

Google consent mode allows your website to acquire useful data that may not be captured otherwise. Anonymized data points can be collected when users don’t consent to cookies — which could be a significant number of your website visitors. This information can help websites better understand advertising effectiveness, visitor metrics, and more.

Without consent mode, Google’s services will not be loaded at all for users who decline advertising or analytics cookies, resulting in a complete loss of key information about the functioning and performance of your website.

Consent mode also allows websites to more easily comply with user consent. Once implemented, consent mode will automatically adjust Google advertising and analytics scripts to comply with users’ saved consent preferences. No additional effort is needed from the website owner.

How Does Google Consent Mode Work with Termly?

Google consent mode requires the use of a consent management system. If you haven’t already implemented a consent solution, you can use Termly’s Consent Manager, which is also compliant with GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy regulations.

Your website visitors can save their consent preferences using the Termly cookie banner, and Google consent mode will work with those saved preferences. You can implement consent mode directly on the page by adjusting your tracking scripts or via Google Tag Manager.

Termly’s consent solution will work with or without Google consent mode.

What Else Should I Consider When Using Google Consent Mode?

By employing Google consent mode, you are relying on Google to adhere to the correct practices when it comes to data privacy of your customers.

If you use consent mode, you are not disabling Google’s scripts based on your visitors’ preferences. Instead, you are allowing the scripts to run while signaling your visitors’ preferences to Google. This tells Google to adjust their tracking in a way that they believe is in accordance with international regulations.

As a general rule of thumb, before sharing customer data with any third party, you should always make sure you understand how the third party handles that data. You can read more about Google consent mode and its behavior in Google’s own documentation or by reviewing their privacy policy.

Termly Legal Team
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Written by Termly Legal Team

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