Consent Mode v2 from Google

Tobias Pennings
Jan 8, 2024

If you've already had server-side tagging implemented by AdPage, chances are we've also set up your Consent Management Platform (CMP) with the Google Tag Manager Consent Mode. This Consent Mode from Google has been a beta version in preparation for a cookie-free future. However, with the arrival of Consent Mode v2 in 2024, this functionality is going to be necessary for every online marketer. This is because Consent Mode v2 intervenes more deeply in the use of marketing tools. Especially sites operating in the EEA (European Economic Area) that use Google Ads should pay attention to this.

Why this Consent Mode update?

Users are demanding more control over how their data is used. For companies that want to measure and drive awareness, intent and sales goals, it is imperative to have high-quality permissioned data and tools that not only measure but can fill in missing data. Privacy regulation and technical implications are thus driving these changes. Among other things, mobile device identifiers and third-party cookies are slowly disappearing. Online businesses must obtain additional permission to use cookies for certain marketing activities. And in the near future, if this is not set properly via Google Consent Mode v2, you will therefore no longer be able to advertise through Google.

In addition to Consent Mode v2, another major change is coming in 2024: Chrome will stop supporting third-party cookies with their Privacy Sandbox. Initial testing for that Privacy Sandbox in the form of Tracking Protection has already begun. These two changes from Google are a big step toward a cookie-free digital world.

The GA4 warning you may have already seen

What is the Google Consent Mode?

Consent Mode is like a mapping of consents obtained for different types of cookie usage. Within each tag on Tag Manager, parameters called analytics_storage and ad_storage are assigned a deny or allow value based on the choices a user makes in the cookie banner. This activates certain tags without including the user-provided data, thus respecting the user's choices.

Google has two implementation types: Advanced Consent Mode and Basic Consent Mode. The choice between the two depends on legal requirements and the desired output. Within the EU, at least, the requirement is not to use Basic Consent Mode.

Advanced Consent Mode allows tags to be fired even before a visitor accepts or rejects cookies. Even if a user does not consent to the use of cookies, tags are activated but adjust their behavior according to the user's choice.

Basic Consent Mode ensures that the Google tag is activated only if the user consents to the use of cookies. If the user refuses to consent, no tags are activated and no information is stored at all.

What will change with v2?Google is introducing two new parameters to communicate user consent and to control the use of allowed data. These two parameters create two new permission statuses: ad_user_data and ad_personalization, which are attributed to user permission:

ad_user_data is used to consent to sending user data to Google for advertising purposes. Website users must then agree to share their data with Google.

ad_personalization determines whether data can be used for ad personalization such as remarketing. Users must agree that their data they want to share with Google may be used for ad personalization.

The current parameter tags analytics_storage and ad_storage of permission mode relate only to data collection, while these new parameters relate to how data is used and shared.

What does it mean for your site?

The introduction of Google Consent Mode v2 creates significant short-term changes for online business owners and marketers. Websites and web shops that do not meet the new standards risk exclusion from Google Ads. When you lose this important advertising channel, website traffic, the number of potential customers and sales also decrease. This development forces advertisers to be stricter in obtaining user consent for data collection. Failure to meet these requirements leads to limitations in advertising opportunities, giving competitors an edge.

There are some key action items for website owners operating in the EU:

- Collect consent from visitors through a Consent Management Platform.

- Share collected consent signals from the CMP with Google and ensure the correct setting of Consent Mode v2.

- Also add permission signals when sending offline data to the Google API.

How to implement Google Consent Mode v2?

There are three possible ways to implement Google Consent Mode on your website:

- Use a Cookie Management Platform (CMP) such as, Cookiebot or Iubenda.

- Implement it through Google Tag Manager (GTM). Each CMP has its own guide for installing consent mode in Google Tag Manager.

- Custom setups by developers. You may have implemented everything custom without the involvement of a CMP. This is rare and we do not recommend it.

Setting up Google Consent Mode v2 with Server-side tagging. Want to take a look at your entire tracking setup? We'll look at your current DataLayer, your Server-side setup, your use of a Consent Management Platform and Measurement Protocol capabilities. Request a no-obligation analysis of your tracking setup.

Google's new Consent Mode v2 is an important step in dealing with privacy regulations and technological changes. For European marketers and online entrepreneurs, it is essential to be aware of these updates and take timely action to remain compliant and minimize the impact on marketing activities. Setting Consent Mode becomes not only a necessity, but also a strategic move to ensure effective and ethical marketing practices. In addition, Google Ads is going to reject campaigns if you don't comply with this. As a result, you will no longer be able to advertise.