What are consent management platforms? Here's how to use them to reduce data loss
Amid enhanced privacy regulation, Callum Coard of Vertical Leap drives home the importance of consent-first data tracking.
CMP: a must-have for marketers who want to hold onto precious data / Priscilla du Preez via Unsplash
Consent management platforms make it easier to adhere to GDPR and other privacy guidelines while minimizing data loss. Here, we explain what a consent management platform is, why it’s important to use one, and how to maximize data insights across every channel in the age of enhanced privacy.
What is a consent management platform (CMP)?
CMPs help website owners in seeking consent from visitors and blocks any trackers they opt out of. When visitors land on your website, a CMP displays a consent pop-up or banner with multiple privacy options.
Consent pop-ups normally allow users to either accept all tracking methods or customize their settings. Many also allow users to reject all tracking with a single click. Once the user has made their selection, the CMP remembers their choices for future sessions. This helps you adhere to GDPR and other privacy guidelines while removing the need to ask for consent in every session.
A quality CMP will store key information about the consent you gather, including who gave consent, when they gave it, what they agreed to, and any changes over time – all of which you’re required to keep as part of GDPR regulations.
What happens if you don’t use a CMP?
Not using a CMP can limit the amount of data you’re able to capture while adhering to GDPR and other privacy regulations. At the same time, it can make it significantly harder to maintain adherence across multiple sessions and channels, including organic and paid search.
Not using a CMP can jeopardize bounce rates – requesting consent interrupts the user experience so implementing an intuitive consent system is vital to reduce bounce rates and traffic loss.
Other perils include data loss (without a quality CMP, you’ll lose data through opt-outs) and hidden cookies: CMPs like CookieYes can scan your website to find all the third-party cookies permitted to store cookies on a user’s browser.
More generally, not using a CMP makes it more difficult to adhere to GDPR guidelines and other privacy regulations. And the more complex compliance becomes, the more likely you are to make mistakes that could lead to fines.
What makes a good CMP?
The most important features to look for in a CMP are:
Cookie scanner: this will find all the cookies on your website, including third-party cookies and spyware that could compromise data security.
Cookie blocking: this will automatically block all cookies until consent is provided.
Consent popups/popups: these are non-intrusive pop-ups and/or banners that request consent from users, ideally with plenty of customization options to match the design of your website.
Geo-targeting: these automatically detect the location of users to request relevant consent.
Default opt-outs: these are consent settings for non-essential tracking, which should be set to decline as default for GDPR.
Consent log: this stores users’ consent choices and any changes they make over time.
Google Consent Mode: your CMP should include a Google Consent Mode integration to minimize the loss of insights through opt-outs and maintain consistency across Google Ads, Analytics and other platforms.
Simplify cross-platform consent with Google Consent Mode
Google Consent Mode is an API that integrates with compatible CMPs. It remembers users’ consent settings and respects their choices across Google products, including Analytics and Google Ads.
This automatically applies consent settings to Google Ads campaigns; Consent Mode also supports conversion tracking and re-marketing. According to Google, Consent Mode can recover more than 70% of ad-to-click conversion data that you would otherwise lose through consent choices.
Recover data with Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
GA4 moves away from the platform’s reliance on cookies. It uses machine learning to fill the gaps in data when users decline to opt in for tracking. Behavioral and conversion modeling calculates the performance of page and funnel performance, so you always have the backup of predictive insights for users who don't give consent.
Enhanced conversions in Google Ads
Enhanced conversions can increase the volume of data you capture from users while respecting their privacy settings. Essentially, it hashes conversion tags into non-identifiable strings and uses these to attribute conversions without using any personal information. For example, if a user submits their email address while converting, Google can hash this data and use it for enhanced conversion attribution.
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