Consent Mode V2 Countdown: Prepping Google Ads for March 2024

A clock displaying the words "consent mode" in v2 countdown.

Your LinkedIn feed is likely inundated with anxiety-filled posts regarding cookie deprecation and required consent signals.  Google isn’t pulling any punches with its deadline. March 2024 marks the cutoff for advertisers to implement Consent Mode V2 or risk losing the privilege of targeting EEA users with personalized and retargeted ads. This deadline looms large for businesses accustomed to the efficacy of such campaigns.

The EEA boasts some of the most stringent privacy regulations globally, spearheaded by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and now the Digital Markets Act (DMA). These regulations empower users with unprecedented control over their online data, presenting a challenge for companies leveraging Google’s advertising services. Failure to comply suddenly seem all too relevant. 

Understanding Consent Mode V2

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So, what exactly is Consent Mode V2? At its core, it’s a tool designed to easily align advertising practices with user consent regarding data collection. This update introduces new ad personalization and remarketing signals, giving common tracking tags to search for consent signals automatically.

Your Action Plan

  • Embrace Consent Mode V2: Time to pop open that GTM container and review any tags that search for these new signals. Google provides detailed instructions to guide you through the process.
  • Consent Management Platforms (CMPs): These are your new best friend in navigating the murky waters of privacy compliance. Partner with a Google-certified CMP to streamline consent management and empower users to control their privacy preferences. We used Cookiebot here at Rob Blog and tackled our setup in less than a day! Keep running EU advertising campaigns with CMP and Google Consent Mode. Collect valid user consent that’s signaled to Google Ads and Google Analytics and ensure continued conversion tracking and analytics optimization.
  • Server-Side Tagging: Implement server-side tagging/tracking simultaneously with your CMP platform.  Use the customs sub-domain method to store the data on your site. More on this in the next section! 
  • Customer Lists: Reupload customer lists after March 2024.  Advertisers will need to verify data compliance and have obtained the correct consent to upload their data to Google’s backend.  Additionally, set up any CRM audience lists to push to the platform.  If you are using Klaviyo, they make it super easy, but almost any CRM can be integrated with the help of Zapier! 
  • Enhanced Conversions: If you aren’t using enhanced conversions yet, you need to get on that ASAP,  
  • Test Everything. Then, test again: Once you’ve implemented changes, it’s crucial to conduct rigorous testing to ensure adherence to users’ personalization preferences. Just because it is set up doesn’t mean it functions exactly how it should. Consult developer resources or even legal counsel to ensure data compliance is where it needs to be for your business.  

Server-Side Tagging & Tracking With Google Ads

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Traditionally, marketing analytics tags and conversion pixels live on the client side. That means they run in the user’s web browser, collecting data but often slowing down your site. The data is sent to a third party, and a lot of interference and signal loss occurs in the process.  Server-side tagging takes a different approach. It shifts the tag management process from the user’s browser. This offers some serious advantages in the cookieless world and generally makes life easier.

Server-side tagging works around things like ad blockers, and it won’t be impacted by changes to third-party cookies if you send the data to your custom subdomain. It provides a more accurate picture of site performance than client-side tracking alone. With secure access to first-party data, you can tailor website experiences and offers based on actual user behavior, all while staying on the right side of privacy laws.

Let’s explore why seasoned marketers are getting excited about server-side tagging:

  • First-Party Data: First-party data is the new gold in a world where third-party cookies will be limited. Server-side tagging lets you collect, own, and use this valuable data.  You have more control over what data gets collected, how it’s stored, and which platforms access it. Streamlined data governance is magical.  
  • Site Speed: Too many client-side tags can make your website slower, and I am sure you have had 2-3 SEO specialists try to tell you your container is causing page load issues. Server-side tagging centralizes and declutters the process, leading to faster page loads and happier users, better accessibility, and search engine optimization.  Your Core Web Vitals will thank you.  
  • Privacy & Security Compliance: Privacy compliance is complex, and there’s nothing funny about hefty fines. Server-side tagging can simplify the process by letting you control data collection and usage in a way that respects user privacy.

Staying Ahead of the Game

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Despite the initial apprehension, these changes present an opportunity for advertisers to realign their targeting and measurement strategies with user privacy at the forefront. This isn’t just a tech issue; it affects every facet of your organization. Keep your sales, legal, and development teams in the loop. As the deadline approaches, keep a keen eye on Google’s announcements. 

March 2024 isn’t just another date on the calendar—it’s a pivotal moment for advertisers in the EEA. By embracing Consent Mode V2 and proactively adapting to the evolving privacy landscape, businesses can confidently navigate these changes and emerge stronger on the other side.

 Don’t let the deadline catch you off guard!