Google Ads: Consent Mode Explainer


Google has recently introduced a new feature for ads called Consent Mode. Basically, it is there to help advertisers manage cookies for advertising and analytics purposes— as it allows for the adjustment of how Google tags behave based on the consent status of users. This feature has the potential to offer some serious benefits to marketers in the current context of privacy and user data. Still a little foggy? Let’s dig a bit deeper into how it works.


How does Consent Mode operate?

Using consent mode, you can indicate whether consent has been granted for Analytics and Ads cookies. Google’s tags will dynamically adapt, only utilizing measurement tools for the specified purposes when the user has given consent. So, when the user does not consent, the relevant Google tags will adjust their behavior to help observe conversions without using associated cookies. When the user consents, Google will observe data as normal.


It comes with two new tag settings

Analytics storage (applies to Google Analytics)

With the “analytics storage” tag setting, Google Consent Mode controls the behavior of statistical cookies on your website based on the consent status of your end-users. Or rather, Google Analytics adjusts its data collection based on the granular consent selection of each individual user.

If users do not consent to statistical cookies:

  • No analytics cookies are read or written.
  • Pings without cookies are sent to Google Analytics for basic measurement and modeling purposes.

Ad storage (Applies to Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Floodlight)

With the “ad storage” tag setting, Google Consent Mode controls the behavior of marketing cookies on your website based on the consent status of your end-users.

If a user does not consent to marketing cookies:

  • Google Consent Mode ensures that all marketing-related Google tags are adjusted and that no cookies are used.
  • Google Analytics does not read or write 3rd party (P) cookies or 1P ad cookies (e.g., _gac click id cookie,, or cookie). 1P analytics cookies are not affected.
  • Requests are sent via a different domain to prevent previously specified third-party cookies from being transmitted.
  • Google signals features (like remarketing, demographics & interests reporting) will not accumulate data for (ad storage) unconsented users.
  • The full-page URL, which may contain information about ad clicks in URL parameters (e.g. GCLID / DCLID), is captured. The data on ad clicks is only used to measure traffic more precisely.
Consent mode

What are the Requirements?

  • A cookie banner that has the function of blocking the advertising and analysis cookies if no consent has been given. 
  • One can use a CMP (Consent Management Platform) to submit the consent information to the Google Consent Mode API. Examples are e.g. Cookiebot (has a GTM template for exactly this, websites under 100 pages pay nothing, under 500 9 € / month, under 5000 pages 21 € / month) and Onetrust (prices between 10 and 45 €). 
  • Integration is also possible through the Google Tag Manager. 
  • To activate the Consent mode with GTM you only need these two documents:


How to implement Consent Mode?

Through Google Tag Manager, the Consent Mode for web pages must be implemented in a way that loads the tags before the consent dialog appears. In addition, it needs to be implemented in the source code before the GTM Code. This way, Google tags will adjust their behavior according to the user’s cookie consent choice. Therefore, it is essential to confirm that the implementation loads Google tags in all cases, not only if the user consents—or Google will not receive the necessary pings for accurate measurement.


What are the benefits?

If you’re in digital marketing or use Google Ads, Google Consent Mode has a few key things to offer. Most importantly, Consent Mode allows you to still capture some analytics and marketing data while respecting user privacy. In addition, there is more data for optimization available because Consent Mode will allow modeling for “lost” conversions and pre-enable customers for GA cookieless mode.

You also get an estimated total number of consented and unconsented conversions. This is because you know the CR of the consented users, which you then can use in the modeling and estimate the unconsented conversions. And of course, to give the user the option if they want to be tracked or not can increase or keep the trust towards a brand.


Implications for Swiss clients

Utilizing a feature like Consent Mode will allow you to estimate the number of lost conversions through modeling and the subsequent data loss that brings. Currently, Swiss Brands are not obliged to have a consent banner on their websites—yet the nDSG (neues Datenschutzgesetz) will likely not be rolled out until the 2nd half of 2022.

And it is vital to keep in mind that modeling will take time to build and will not surface immediately upon implementation.


Final recommendations

As marketeers, the activation of Consent Mode will allow us to see more conversion data (even if they are extrapolated), which will assist the algorithms and enhance optimization. Thus, when it becomes mandatory for swiss clients, consent mode could be a great way to reduce the data loss which will result from the consent layer.

As it stands, you can still generate some advertising revenue even if your users refuse to accept marketing cookies or tracking technologies. You can also access enough information to help inform your overall marketing strategy without violating a user’s privacy rights. Overall, Google Consent Mode can help you improve the UX across your websites and adjust your marketing strategy without violating global privacy laws. Want to learn more? Get in touch to speak with one of our experts.

Simply book a free appointment to continue the conversation, and ask us questions about how your business could benefit from a proactive approach to user privacy.