GA4: the only analytics platform that benefits from Google’s Consent Mode

Google’s Consent Mode is a brilliant opportunity for advertisers in their response to a problem that should (and will) get more attention – data lost due to users not consenting to being tracked. 

It’s a brilliant opportunity for advertisers, and also for Google. The biggest benefit of Consent Mode is the effect of modelling that restores the measurement of nonconsenting users, and this benefit is available only to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and the Google Marketing Platform (GMP) tech stack. By developing a unique product of considerable value for GMP customers, Google has created brilliant reinforcement for the position of its whole enterprise marketing platform.

Browsers and devices have become better at protecting privacy, and are increasingly adopting the principle of privacy by default. This has had an impact (that’s understating it) on our industry, and we’ve tended to focus on preventing the degradation of the quality of user tracking data.

The absence of data

Degradation is one thing, but complete absence is another. The development of data protection regulation, and our understanding of consent, has come hand-in-hand with privacy-protecting technology; and yet the effect of users not consenting to being tracked at all gets less attention than the effect of Apple’s ITP on tracking cookies.

Certainly to a degree, marketers ignore the missing data as though users going untracked is something they just can’t do anything about. But perhaps Meta being required to comply with the GDPR will provoke many advertisers to think again about themselves having to take a position of strict compliance, and about the impact that will have on their measurement.

The Google Consent Mode loophole

The good news is that with Google Consent Mode, there is something we can do to continue to collect data from users who don’t consent to being tracked. Consent Mode integrates with an app or website’s consent management solution. The user’s choices about consent are passed to the Consent Mode tech, which in turn affects the way that marketing tracking tech is allowed to operate. Consent Mode allows Google’s tracking tech to work even when the user hasn’t consented to having their personal data processed, by collecting data without using cookies or user IDs. The resulting anonymous data is then used in modelling, to partially restore (around 70% of) the accuracy of user measurements. In digital analytics, this means the restoration of user counts, bounce rates, conversion rates, and many other metrics… but only in GA4, that is.

The absence of personal data collected from non-consenting users is an increasingly significant and unavoidable reality. It doesn’t have to be a big problem, and Google Consent Mode is a very valuable tool to help us. It’s a genius product in its own right, in its benefits for advertisers and Google Analytics users; and it’s a genius move for Google, cementing the value of GA4, and therefore also the GMP stack, being the only adtech that benefits from Consent Mode modelling.

If you’d like to learn more about Google’s Consent Mode, or how Croud can help with your Data Solutions as a GMP partner, get in touch today.  

by Kevin Joyner
26 January 2023



Related posts