Five considerations to help marketers get to grips with Google’s Consent Mode

Estíbaliz AmillanoForrester predicted that ‘2021 will be a year of transition’ when it comes to data privacy. While Google’s decision to delay plans to phase out third-party cookies provides welcome breathing space, it shouldn’t be an excuse for brands to be complacent. For Estíbaliz Amillano, Data Team Lead at Making Science it’s an opportunity for mobile marketers to test the privacy-centric options to ensure they are in the best possible position when the death of third-party cookies eventually arrives.  Here Estíbaliz maps out five considerations to help marketers get their arms around Consent Mode…

Recent research highlights that if companies fail to take action and evolve in line with these privacy changes, they face losing 25% of their data. Such a loss could have serious implications not only for their marketing effectiveness, but for their sales and business growth.

The reality is that relentless news coverage around information misuse has eroded consumer trust, particularly in regard to how companies are using their customers’ data. Today, consumers are savvier when it comes to their personal data and want to control who can access and use it. Couple this with an increasing number of privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA, and the need to implement a first-party data strategy is clear. So, what can brands do now to ensure their mobile campaigns remain relevant in a world without cookies?

consent mode

It all starts with consent

At a minimum, mobile marketers must focus on leveraging their first-party data in an intelligent way – adopting a Consent Management Platform (CMP) to manage individual consent and preference. However, asking users for explicit consent before installing cookies in their browser may lead to the loss of conversion measurement data for those users who refuse to give permission.

As such, the challenge mobile marketers face is finding a way to comply with user consent, but without losing the ability to measure campaign performance and ROI. One solution is Google’s Consent Mode, which allows marketers to analyse, improve and optimise ad activation.

While Google’s Consent Mode is currently a beta tool, it would be wise for mobile marketers to understand its capabilities now. So, what five things do marketers need to know about Google’s Consent Mode?

1.Focusing on two types of consent: Supporting several Google products, including Google Ads and Google Analytics, consent mode complements the system or solution installed to collect two types of consent; analytics and advertising personalisation.

2. The key variables for configuration: By introducing two new variables, ‘ad_storage’ and ‘analytics_storage’ into the configuration, mobile marketers will be able to inform their tags (Google Analytics, GMP, and Google Ads) of the user’s consent status and adjust their behaviour accordingly.

3. Utilising tags to enable post-cookie measurement capabilities: It’s important to note that if no permission is granted by the end-user, cookies will not be used. However, these tags mentioned will always be executed, regardless of whether the user consents or not. In this way, mobile marketers can still have basic, aggregated measurements instead of losing this information completely.

4. Modelling conversions for not-consenting users: With the information collected from consenting users, Google’s platforms will also be able to model conversions for those users who have not consented. While this modelling is not yet active within the tool, it’s certainly referenced within Google’s product roadmap plan.

5. Harnessing URL click identifier capabilities: Another key functionality that can be activated with consent mode is the “URL Passthrough”, which enables the process of sending the click identifier in the URL so that it can still be associated with a conversion in the absence of cookies.

From its initial blog in 2020 announcing plans to stop supporting third-party tracking data, Google’s key goal has always been accelerating the shift towards a privacy-centric digital ecosystem. Therefore, regardless of the fact that the industry is working to an updated timeline, brands must continue to evolve how they create, deliver and measure mobile marketing initiatives around alternative, privacy-secure data sources.

For any brand, actively exploring and testing the solutions available, particularly Google’s Consent Mode, is time well spent. Ultimately, only by making the necessary time investments now, will brands ensure they are in a strong position to maximise their marketing efforts in a cookieless world.

Consent ModeEstíbaliz Amillano, Data Team Lead at Making Science