Data and analytics
December 28, 2023

Google Consent Mode v2 will be mandatory by March 2024 - do Australian websites need to worry?

Data and analytics
December 28, 2023

Google Consent Mode v2 will be mandatory by March 2024 - do Australian websites need to worry?

Google Consent Mode v2 will be mandatory by March 2024 - do Australian websites need to worry?

Google Consent Mode V2, introduced in late November 2023, is an updated version of the original Consent Mode developed by Google. Consent mode allows websites to communicate users' cookie consent choices to Google tags more effectively. 

Changes to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and UK's Data Protection Act (DPA) have forced Google to make serious changes to the way they collect data from European users, and Consent Mode v2 will help website and app owners provide privacy-centric options for their users.

From March 2024 - Google Consent Mode v2 will be mandatory for all websites who use Google Analytics 4, Google Ads or Floodlight (DoubleClick) tracking pixels on their website and apps.

Failure to comply will result in a breach of Google’s user consent policy which may result in your Google accounts being disabled or terminated - so it is important you take this seriously.

How does Consent Mode v2 impact Australian websites?

If your website receives any European traffic, compliance with GDPR and DPA necessitates the configuration of Consent Mode V2.

Additionally, impending revisions to the Privacy Act in Australia bring us closer to establishing GDPR/DPA-level privacy regulations domestically.

Moreover, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) mandates obtaining consent before tracking Californian users on your website.

While implementing Consent Mode V2 is one small change, it underscores a larger shift towards providing all users with consent management options.

How to check if you need to implement Consent Mode

First confirm that you have the Google Analytics 4, Google Ads or Floodlight (DoubleClick) tracking pixels on your sites.

Then, use your website analytics tool, and filter to measure EU or Californian users in the last 12 months.

If you have the tracking pixels and have any visitors from EU or California, you technically need to ask those users for permission before tracking them on your website, and in turn should implement a Consent Management Platform (CMP) and Consent Mode V2.

How to activate Google Consent Mode v2

Ensure all tags are fired through a Tag Manager

Before you can use a cookie popup or Consent Mode v2 - you must first ensure that all tags are fired from within a tag manager platform (such as Google Tag Manager).

Select and install a Consent Management Platform (CMP) - aka a “Cookie popup”

To properly use Consent Mode V2, you must provide users with a “cookie consent” popup, where they can choose to allow or deny cookies.

While it is possible to build your own Cookie Consent popup, there are Consent Management Platforms (CMP) tools that do a lot of the heavy lifting. 

CMP tools have a wide range of features and pricing  - so be sure to do your research before choosing an option.

Integrate your CMP with your tag manager

Now that you have your CMP installed, it will manage consent mode automatically for tags that are natively compatible with Google Consent Mode, such as Google Analytics, AdSense, Floodlight, and Conversion Linker.

All other tags (such as Facebook, Linkedin or any "Custom HTML" tags) should be updated to only fire when the specific permission is granted.

Updating your GTM tag to use consent mode tags

Each tag should have the consent type configured based on the tag purpose:

  • Functionality: functionality_storage / security_storage
  • Experience: personalization_storage
  • Measurement: analytics_storage
  • Marketing: ad_storage

Each align with the options available to the user in the CMP popup on your website

Testing and Launch

Before implementing any changes through Tag Manager, it's vital to conduct rigorous testing.

This step ensures that your website's functionality and tracking remain intact. Simultaneously, verify that your Consent Management Platform (CMP) has comprehensive coverage. Only when these checks are successfully completed should you proceed to publish the new configuration.

This approach not only guarantees a seamless transition but also reinforces the effective management of user consent across your site.

Monitoring and compliance

It is crucial to implement vigilant monitoring for website tracking to ensure ongoing compliance. In some instances, new tracking codes may be introduced to the site without integration through the Consent Management Platform (CMP).

Many CMP tools offer features designed to oversee changes in website tracking, providing timely alerts for situations where tracking may have been added independently of the Cookie Consent Popups.

By actively monitoring these changes, you can maintain a robust and compliant consent management system, safeguarding user privacy and adherence to regulations.

Are you ready for consent mode v2?

The deadline for Consent Mode v2 is March 2024 - the time for action is now. 

If you would like some support or guidance - don’t hesitate to reach out.

Brad Farleigh
Article written by:
Brad Farleigh
Chief Technical Officer

As the CTO I lead innovation projects, oversee IT policies and systems, provide technical guidance and training support, and drive technical innovation. I also offer technical consultation and foster strategic partnerships for business development.