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Google’s new privacy compliance requirements: March deadline, Consent Mode v2, and securing advertising

Google’s March deadline with new requirements for advertisers in the EU/EEA and UK is fast approaching, as outlined in their recent Google Ads help center article.

Jan 24, 2024

Why do you need a Google-certified consent management platform (CMP)? What is Consent Mode and how will it help protect your ad revenue and future-proof your digital marketing strategy? Read on.

Google is increasing their efforts in data privacy, helping drive compliance among their customers. Recently, Shirin Eghtesadi, Director Product Management at Google, posted an article about their latest initiatives with advertising

Recent regulations like the Digital Markets Act (DMA) have created new obligations for large tech companies like Google. As a result, for the company to meet data privacy requirements, it has to create its own for third parties using its services, like Google Marketing Platform, Google Ads, or Google Analytics. Companies that want to continue using the ad personalization features of Google’s ad services in Europe need to collect valid consent from end users, and be able to signal that consent to Google.

We explore what these new requirements from Google mean for companies advertising online in the EU and EEA, how they could affect ad revenue, and how they can not only achieve privacy compliance, but benefit from consent-based marketing strategy.

What do advertisers need to know about the Google deadline?

Data privacy regulations in Europe are well established, laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ePrivacy Directive and other relevant regulations. The new rules from Google serve as a form of compliance enforcement for those in the EU/EEA and UK markets.

Google also introduced its EU user consent policy (EU UCP) several years ago, which has been updated, and this is particularly relevant regarding audience and measurement solutions.

Google’s deadline for organizations using its services in the EU/EEA and UK for advertising is March 2024. Companies need to implement a Google-certified consent management platform, like Cookiebot CMP. If they don’t, they will still be able to serve ads, but without access to personalization functionality.

Google has recommended that companies install a consent solution from one of their CMP Partners to obtain and manage valid user consent. Cookiebot CMP was one of the first certified by Google after they announced these upcoming changes. Any CMP chosen also needs to integrate with Google Consent Mode v2, which enables the required signaling of consent data among Google’s platforms.

How is Google defining an advertiser?

The definition of advertiser for these changes refers to organizations or individuals that promote products, services, or brands via various media outlets — in this case via Google’s platforms, such as Google Ads. They also use digital marketing and advertising tools, like Google Analytics, for prospect targeting and conversion tracking.

So organizations that run ad campaigns and measure performance using Google’s ad tech services and analytics platform in Europe need to adopt Google’s new CMP requirements by March 2024 if they don’t want to risk a hit to their ad revenue.

Under the EU user consent policy, third parties that use Google’s platforms and services need to meet the following requirements:

  • obtain legally valid consent from end users for:
    • use of cookies or other local storage where legally required, and
    • collecting, sharing and using personal data from audiences for ad personalization
  • when requesting consent from end users, parties must:
    • retain records of users’ consent choices
    • enable end users to revoke their consent any time, with clear instructions for how to do so

When Google Consent Mode was originally launched, it enabled data tracking and generating insights, even when consent wasn’t obtained from users. It has evolved, however, with initiatives like the Google CMP Partner Program, of which Cookiebot™ is a member. Today one of its main benefits, and the driver behind these new changes for advertisers, is that it works as a signaling tool, particularly for consent. Within the marketing ecosystem of Google tools and other services, Consent Mode enables control of their functions based on consent data from users’ choices.

When using Google Tag Manager. Google Analytics, or Google Ads, Consent mode helps to optimize user consent rates and still gain conversion insights even when users decline consent for data use.

Google Consent Mode v2 includes two new settings: ad_user_data and ad_personalization. These use user consent information to control access to and use of personal data and ad personalization.

A consent management platform enables advertisers to collect legally valid consent from users, customized to relevant local regulations and other factors. Using a Google-certified CMP with Consent Mode integrated enables automatic signaling of that consent information about use of cookies and trackers to Google’s platforms and services.

These consent signals cause tags that are in use to adjust the behavior of Google Ads, Google Analytics, and other services automatically. Users’ consent choices are respected, and organizations can comply with both Google’s requirements and data privacy regulations.

Consent Mode currently supports the following Google services:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads (Google Ads Conversion Tracking and Remarketing)
  • Google Tag Manager
  • gtag
  • Floodlight
  • Conversion Linker

Your Google CMP Partner – Cookiebot CMP

When Google launched its CMP Partner Program in 2022, Cookiebot CMP was one of the first CMPs certified. Cookiebot CMP was also updated to support the changes to Consent Mode that Google announced in late 2023. 

Cookiebot CMP upgrades to the latest Consent Mode API automatically, so Consent Mode is always active when the CMP is implemented and in use. Advertisers are protected and always able to obtain legally valid consent, which is signaled to Google. Keep serving personalized ad content in the EU/EEA and UK with confidence, and embrace consent-based marketing strategies.

Check out our support article for all the information on setting up Cookiebot CMP with Google Consent Mode.

How will advertising be affected by the Google requirements?

Advertising is only one purpose for which organizations need user data. Digital marketing runs on data and is how companies strategize, optimize, and grow. Ad campaigns can still be served based on non-personalized data, but it’s limiting, especially for analytics. 

Marketers typically want to be able to segment and target audience groups to best earmark ad spend and optimize conversions. This requires data from those audience members. Increasingly, regulations — and now tech partners — are requiring that consumers’ consent be obtained before this data is collected or processed.

  1. As of March 2024, companies using Google services will need to be able to signal that they have obtained users’ consent before being able to serve ads with personalization functionality.
  2. Failing to implement a Google-certified CMP that supports Consent Mode by March 2024 will mean that organizations can only continue to serve ads on Google platforms that are not personalized and are based on aggregated data instead of specific user analysis.
  3. Implementing a Google-certified CMP supporting Consent Mode enables organizations to signal valid consent to Google and continue to serve personalized ads to users who have consented. Note that even if a user has not consented, they must be able to change their consent preference in the future, and may opt in to personalized advertising later on.
  4. Using Google’s APIs or SDKs to share audience data from websites or apps with Google also means organizations need to upgrade to the latest versions to ensure consent signaling to Google.

Unlock consent-driven marketing opportunities with Cookiebot CMP and Google Consent Mode v2

Sign up now for your 14-day free trial

Conclusions and next steps for advertisers

Advertisers in the EU/EEA and UK need to act quickly to meet Google’s March 2024 deadline. However, implementing the Google-certified Cookiebot CMP is fast and easy, and Consent Mode is active by default. Protect your ad revenue and future-proof your digital marketing strategy with Cookiebot™.

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