Communicating consent with Google

Complexity with consent management keeps on growing. This post could have been just an internal memo but I thought that it might help others as well so hence posting it publicly.

Let’s start with TCF. Google joined the framework on version 2.0 and it was probably one big win for the whole framework to get the acceptance it has now received. Google is on the framework with vendor id 755. That means that they will receive the consents from TCF compliant CMPs as any other vendor would and then Google will consume the consent information on their platform(s). Now as the coverage of this consent transmission is not extensive, there are Google products that don’t consume TCF consent as of now. This leads to need that some publishers have been asking Google consent within the framework and also outside of it. From orchestration point of view this non-TCF consent needs to be communicated to Google’s products the manual or custom way.

For example Google Analytics has configuration option:

window['gtag_enable_tcf_support'] = true

Source : https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/10022331?hl=en

This setting makes Google Analytics to honor TCF consents given for Google as vendor.

Outside TCF Google Analytics has other options to configure it to act per consents. Following settings alter the way Google Analytics collects the data (anonymizeIp) and if the advertising related functionality is enabled or not (allowAdFeatures):

ga('set', 'anonymizeIp', true);

You can set this within the GA configuration or dynamically via Google Tag Manager. After testing with two separate setups the options seems to not accept “false” as value (even it should by specs) so if you configure it as macro variable within GTM you can witness that variable setting the parameter to false turns as undefined in the made call. Things that really can drive you nuts…

Then the other option, allowAdFeatures.

ga('set', 'allowAdFeatures', false);

Same here, set it within you GA configuration/init or set it within GTM. Normally you have Google Analytics Settings as custom variable on your GTM, open it up and you’ll see More settings > Fields to Set

For settings these dynamically per consent, you need implement custom variables for those macros and custom javascript code to read the consents.

Then there is new feature, Google Consent Mode to cover the same, partially something else and then cover also some parts differently as the previous options. Now, if you expect clear recommendation out of this article then prepare to not receive those. We are testing with all these combination as this is being written but seems the behavior of the options is so inconsistent that each scenario would require deep dives before real recommendations can be given.

That being said, Consent Mode looks promising from the coverage point of view and hence we have included it to Gravito LightCMP as optional plugin already now. You can also experience both option, Consent Mode and allowAdFeatures flag on this blog that you are reading so all geeks out there, you can test and fiddle with these listed options here. Please report us your findings… 🙂

More information to come, stay tuned.

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