Google Consent Mode & Enhanced Conversions: What You Need to Know

Posted On: 25th June 2024
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Read Time: 6 Minutes
Google Consent Mode V2

A lot has happened in the first six months of 2024. Google rolled out enhanced conversions and consent mode V2 (due to include Switzerland as of July 31 2024), and now they’re officially saying goodbye to Universal Analytics. If you’re not sure what we’re talking about – or how these changes affect your online business – we’ll get you up to speed in this article.

How companies track data with Google is changing, and by reading this guide, you can ensure you don’t lose out on the insights you need to thrive online.

Universal Analytics phase out

First things first, as of July 1st 2024, Universal Analytics (UA) begins its phase out. That means if you haven’t already transferred over to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), now is the time to do that! This is a short and sweet update, but we’re adding it because without making this change, you won’t have access to the data you need – whether that’s new or historical.  

Consent Mode V2

Ever wondered what happens when people click the ‘reject’ or ‘accept’ button on your cookie consent banner? There is an entire behind-the-scenes process, known as Google consent mode. With V2 active since March 2024, and due to include users in Switzerland as of 31 July 2024, we’re looking at what this means for online business owners and what, if anything, you need to do. 

Why should you care about Google’s consent mode update?

Third party cookies are no longer supported on Google Chrome, meaning users must provide permission in order for their user data to be tracked. This makes getting user consent in the right way a priority for online businesses. If you don’t already know, cookies track and store data on your customers and help display related content when they’re browsing the web. 

What is consent mode?

Consent mode manages the responses of people clicking the reject or accept button for tracking and storing their personal data. It lets you send details of people’s consent choices to Google. Users of your website will select this through your cookie consent button when they access your site. 

Depending on what people click on the cookie consent banner, the parameters will either be set as denied or granted for that user. If a user clicks denied (reject), it means their data won’t show up in Google Analytics or Google Ads. If they click granted (accept), then the data will be tracked, and the user may also be shown relevant advertising content as they continue to search the web. 

These are known as analytics_storage and ad_storage parameters. 

Some cookie platforms will automatically send the consent data to Google. All the information on how that user interacts with your website, as well as personal demographic data, will then be available across the Google system, including ads and analytics. 

There are three levels of consent: 

  • No consent: If you don’t apply Google’s consent mode, then no user data will be collected. This means that your Google ads won’t be tailored to your audience.
  • Basic consent (Essential): If consent mode is applied, Google tags (bits of code that track user interaction data in Google Analytics and GA4) will be blocked unless a user grants consent through your website cookie banner.
  • Advanced consent (Optional): This enables you to still gather data for Google Ads and GA4 even if the user doesn’t grant consent. You can give users the option to select what type of tracking they’re happy or not happy with – whether that’s analytics, advertising or third party. In this mode, Google tags collect data on a user before the consent banner appears. The tags will simply adjust what data they track depending on how the user responds on the cookie consent banner. 

How does V2 differ from the previous version? 

V2 was set up to meet legal requirements in Europe. There are now two new consent parameters to be aware of: ad_user_data and ad_personalization.

The new Google Core update has got website owners and digital marketers feeling some mixed emotions. Some sites are doing better in the rankings, while others are taking a hit. 

The update is all about giving users better search results, but it’s causing a lot of ups and downs in rankings for different industries. Website owners are keeping a close eye on how they’re doing and making changes to keep up with the update. 

Businesses need to check out how the update is affecting their rankings and come up with a plan to keep their search visibility strong. 

 

TagsWhat does it track?
analytics_storageEnables storage of cookie data related to analytics.
ad_storageEnables storage of cookie data related to advertising.
ad_user_dataUsed to set consent for sending user data to Google for advertising purposes.
ad_persaonlizationControls whether data can be used for ad personalisation, such as remarketing campaigns.

 

Google Consent Mode V2

 

Does your business need to use consent mode?

As a marketer or online business owner, you’ll want to know if this is essential for every website. If you display your website or app to people in Europe, then the answer is yes. You will definitely want to activate consent mode and follow the rules of V2. 

This applies whether you have Google Ads or not. If you’re using Google Analytics and people in Europe can access your site, then this is essential. This also applies to remarketing campaigns that target people located in Europe.

Google is tightening its grip on privacy with its EU consent policy. If you don’t activate consent mode, people in Europe won’t be added to your audience lists. That could mean a huge loss for your ad revenue potential. With the latest population figures for Europe standing at well over 700 million, it’s definitely not something you want to overlook if you are targeting people in this region as part of your strategy. 

The other caveat is that consent mode is part of EU regulations, meaning it’s now a legal requirement. 

How do I implement the new consent mode?

You can work with a Google-certified CMP partner to help implement the new consent mode, meaning you don’t have to worry about draining your in-house resources to stay up-to-date. You’ll need a compliant banner and the correct Google tags set up to follow consent mode. If you choose to implement it in-house, your developers will need to add the two new parameters, ad_user_data and ad_personalization.

 

Enhanced Conversions

If you’re using Google Ads, the new enhanced conversions can boost the quality of your audience and conversion data. Find out more below.

What are enhanced conversions?

Enhanced conversions and consent mode are working in harmony to provide marketers and online business owners with a more comprehensive picture of their website’s performance. 

Currently available for search and YouTube in Google Ads, advertisers can collect data on their conversion pages and then match this to Google logged-in data. 

To access this, you need to do the following:

  • Add sitewide tagging using Google Tag Manager
  • Have Google Ads conversion tracking as conversion source
  • Have webpages where customers submit data in clear text

Enhanced conversions can be added to purchases or lead forms. They can be implemented automatically, manually or via an API. 

In order for this to work, the customer’s email address or address will need to be sent to Google via Tag Manager (with their permission, of course). 

It matches your first party data with your Google Ads data and keeps you compliant with GDPR. Just remember to activate consent mode V2 if you’re advertising, remarketing or showing your website to people living in the European Economic Area (EEA). 

What are the benefits of enhanced conversions?

Below are just some of the benefits that enhanced conversions can bring to your Google ad campaigns. 

  • Improve the accuracy of conversion measurement (Google reported an increase of 5% in conversions on search and 17% on YouTube.) 
  • Improve bid and budget management.  
  • Understand when people use multiple devices to access your website. 
  • Improve cross-channel conversion production. 

These are fantastic benefits, but you should expect a grace period of about a month to see the changes appear in your analytics reports. 

Who are enhanced conversions for?

While consent mode is designed for both apps and websites, enhanced conversions are currently only recommended for web data streams rather than apps.

 

Get the most out of Google Ads and GA4

The updated consent mode and enhanced conversions provide a balanced approach, unlocking more impactful data about your customers while also keeping your business compliant with the latest privacy policies. And, if you haven’t already, make sure you switch to GA4, otherwise you’ll lose out on valuable digital marketing data! 

We hope this blog has given you a better understanding of Google’s new consent mode V2 and how this ties in with enhanced conversions. By activating consent mode and implementing enhanced conversions, Google should be able to show your ads to the right people. Google’s machine learning is constantly improving, and here’s hoping that as it learns more about the way users interact with your website, it will also improve your Google Ad profit margins. 

If you need any further advice on Google consent mode or enhanced conversions, our team is happy to help, get in touch.

 

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Emma Gibbs at Echo Web Solutions
Emma Gibbs
SEO Content Writer
Writing is something that Emma has always loved, and enjoys using her passion for the written word to help businesses create easy to understand content that drives results.

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