Google CONSENT MODE v2: What is it and Why Should You Care
Google CONSENT MODE v2: What is it and Why Should You Care
Consent Mode version 2

What does this mean for your marketing strategy and your job?

From March 2024, marketers targeting audiences in the EEA and UK need to comply with Google's Consent Mode V2, which restricts access to the data that we've been flying high on until now. Those care-free, data-rich days are coming to an end now that Google's stricter rules have gone into effect. A new age of privacy and transparency is dawning that will change the marketing landscape forever.

What does this mean for your marketing strategy? What even is Consent Mode V2? And how can you get the most out of it?

Think of your ad campaigns before Consent Mode V2 as an all-you-can-eat buffet. All the different ad consent choices are overwhelming, which confuses users and leaves marketers with a lot of data to work with. 

The landscape after Consent Mode V2 is more like à la carte. Specifically, two additional parameters were added to capture users' consent in more detail. The goal is to respect user consent preferences when sharing data with Google services. 

It's a change, aligned with Google's wider shift towards a more privacy-focused ecosystem. Consent Mode V2 focuses on helping advertisers using Google's ad tech show that they are following their EU user consent policy. 

American marketers aren't exempt

Any international businesses running ad campaigns in Europe must implement Consent Mode V2 to avoid interruptions from March 2024. 

Why should you comply with Consent Mode V2?

You're going to want to comply. Your life will be a lot harder if you don't. Here's why. 

If you haven't adopted Consent Mode V2 in time, you'll face limitations for Google measurement, ad personalization, and remarketing features. 

Your bidding algorithms will end up running on inaccurate, incomplete data, leading to less effective spending. 

Google Ads, Google Analytics, or GA4, as you know them today, will change as of March 2024. 

So, without Consent Mode V2, marketers measurement, reporting, and ability to do remarketing in the EEA and UK will be very limited. 

How will Concept Mode V2 affect marketing strategy?

In the good old days, to target ads, marketers relied heavily on knowing users' browsing history and shopping habits. 

We used that data to build rich customer profiles that blend first and third-party data sources, allowing for laser-focused personalization. 

Now, Consent Mode V2 will only give marketers that intel with users' explicit consent. And Consent Mode V2 is only one of two seismic shifts hitting the ad industry. 

The other is that Google is phasing out all third-party cookies in the second half of 2024

This will make remarketing campaigns more challenging to run. Marketers will struggle to get the full picture of their campaign performance. 

Think of it like a city planner trying to ease congestion. She needs data from traffic lights and flow patterns to see which roads are overwhelmed with cars and which are running smoothly. 

Now, only half of the traffic cameras in each intersection are working. The city planner is no longer making decisions with a full picture of traffic flows. 

How does she know where to direct the cars? Like city planning, running ads is harder to do with visibility gaps. 

Marketers will need to get creative to overcome these blind spots

So, how is Google planning to help balance out this loss of visibility? I'm glad you asked. It's promising to help solve this problem with its new conversion modelling tools available with Google Consent Mode V2. 

They'll help marketers regain some of that data with aggregated, anonymized reporting. Conversion modelling uses AI to estimate the behaviour of users who don't grant consent to cookies or analytics. 

Google says this will keep ads competitive by helping marketers shed light on behaviour trends and campaign performance in a privacy-conscious way. In advanced mode, marketers can even add their own first-party data to the algorithm to improve modelling accuracy. 

But will conversion modelling be accurate enough to make up for the data that marketers lose when implementing Consent Mode V2? 

Think of it like a meteorologist forecasting the weather. Atmosphéric modelling can be spot on, but it isn't perfect. 

It's possible that, with consented user data, advertising may become less personalised and less scalable. 

Costs may increase in the short term to make up for broader targeting and lower conversion rates. Figuring out what's driving conversions and what isn't will be harder with fragmented views of user journeys. 

But there are some huge gains to be had, too. 

How can marketers benefit from Consent Mode V2?

Though it might seem a massive challenge, there is a great opportunity for innovation here. 

Marketers will have to come up with new ways to reach audiences that don't rely on their online behaviour. 

This presents an opportunity to build more trust with customers. Marketers who are pivoting to privacy-led marketing have the edge. 

They need to develop a profound understanding of their customer base, who they are, what drives them, and where they live on the Internet, all without the help of cookies. 

First-party and zero-party data collection will be paramount, and it'll have to be done ethically. 

Smart marketers are already focusing on using customer loyalty programs and rewards to achieve this. Marketers who excel in this new era of privacy-led marketing will be agile and flexible in testing and optimising new approaches. 

So, the shift away from third-party cookies could usher in a new era of creative and strategic thinking in marketing. 

As we’re sure you've figured by now, none of this is actually about us marketers at all

The whole idea is to finally treat our customers, our users, better. Isn't it about time that they can browse peacefully without being haunted by the ads stalking them across the Internet? That's why, with Consent Mode V2, Google is empowering people to own their data. 

So, how will it feel from the user's perspective? 

Think of Consent Mode V2 as an Internet user's very own privacy bouncer. It speaks to websites on their behalf, letting them know what their data privacy preferences are. It lets them decide what data they're okay with giving away and what stays private. 

Here's how it will work. Say they're shopping online for a new TV. Before they start browsing models, a popup appears. The big burly Consent Mode V2 bouncer explains that they can allow ads to be shown based on their interests and past searches. 

He asks if they want to say "yes" to all consent requests, some or none. 

Do you want to enable cookies, share data for personalised ads, enable ad storage, allow us to save analytics, and would you like a bottle sent to your VIP booth, Madame? 

They think back to the ads that used to follow them from Instagram to their inbox, and they tell the bouncer, "No, thanks," to personalised ads. 

The website captures their consent choices and adjusts data collection for them by signalling those choices back to Google. 

Since they opted out of personalised ads, Google restricts tags and ad tracking, cutting off access to personal data scraped from around the web. 

Advertising, analytics, and site performance all align with the boundaries they set. 

So now, party crashers, finally, won't be allowed to follow internet users around the club all night. Instead, when browsing for TVs, customers will see ads for TVs. 

And now, back to you. With Consent Mode V2, the emphasis is on handing choice and control back to the users. There are benefits, more trust and engagement between companies and their customers, easier compliance with evolving privacy regulations, and it'll open the door to more creative and ethical marketing approaches.