Consent Mode in Google Tag Manager – What You Need to Know

on Blog April 05th, 2024

In March 2024, Google has made Consent Mode a requirement for Google Tag Manager (GTM) implementations. This means website owners must adapt their tracking and data collection strategies to remain compliant with privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

This blog post provides a comprehensive guide to Consent Mode within GTM. We’ll delve into:

  • What is Consent Mode?
  • Why is Consent Mode crucial for compliance?
  • How to implement Consent Mode in GTM.
  • Best practices for streamlining the process.


What is Consent Mode?

Consent Mode is a feature within Google Tag Manager that dynamically manages the behavior of Google tags like Google Analytics and Google Ads. It does this based on the consent settings a website visitor has selected within a consent management platform (CMP). This means tags can be configured to respect a user’s consent status, potentially delaying or adjusting their behavior until the user grants consent.

“Google has become very advanced at making sure visitors are protected and Consent Mode is one of those improvements FANNIT thinks everyone should know about.”, Chris Fink, a Partner at FANNIT explained in a recent interview.

Typically, website tracking tags collect data even before a user has a chance to opt in or out. Consent Mode introduces a layer of control, letting you align tag loading and data collection with a user’s consent.


Google Tag Manager Consent Mode

Why is Consent Mode Important?

Consent Mode is vital for ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations like the GDPR. These regulations give users the right to control how their personal data is collected and used. By implementing Consent Mode, you demonstrate a commitment to user privacy and strengthen trust.

Implementing Google Consent Mode aids in aligning with the GDPR and similar regulations, respecting a user’s right to choose how their data is used. Your user grants consent before tags fully load, putting individuals in control of their own data.

How to Set Up Consent Mode in Google Tag Manager

Wondering “how do I set consent mode?”. Setting up Consent Mode involves a few key steps:

  • Implement a Consent Management Platform (CMP): Choose a CMP that integrates seamlessly with Google Tag Manager.  There are many CMPs available offering different features and levels of complexity.  It’s essential to find one specifically designed to manage consent mode on GTM, as this will ensure your Google tags behave accurately based on the consent settings a user selects.

Consider factors you consider essential:

    • Granular Consent: Does the CMP allow users to give granted consent for specific purposes (Google Analytics, advertising, etc.)?
    • Customization: Can you easily adjust the consent banner’s look and feel to match your website’s design?
    • Multilingual Support: Ensure the CMP supports your target audience’s languages.


  • Configure GTM Tags:  Configure Google tags with built-in consent checks. Each tag has settings for consent checks, determining how it behaves at different consent states. You can even set up tags based on the specific consent types granted in your consent banner.
  • Set Up Triggers: Create a consent initialization trigger. This fires as soon as the page loads, reading the initial consent settings. Set up other triggers based on when a user interacts with the consent banner to change their preferences.
  • Test and Deploy: Thoroughly test your implementation to ensure everything functions as intended before making it live.


Best Practices

  • Select a CMP that smoothly integrates with GTM.
  • Offer granular consent choices in your banner, with clear opt-in/out language. Avoid pre-ticked boxes, which can affect the default consent state.
  • Regularly audit your Consent Mode implementation to ensure consent signals are passed correctly, and tags behave as configured.

Tyler Edwards helps support technical new client onboarding with FANNIT and mentioned, “Almost all our new Clients need us to set up Consent Mode for them. This is one of the advantages of hiring an expert agency like FANNIT – you get more than just marketing campaigns.”

Understanding Consent Mode Functionality – More Detail

Advanced Consent Mode

Offer more control over how tags load based on their purpose (analytics, advertising purposes, etc.). This can even include partial data collection if the user has only given consent for specific functions.

Consent Mode Commands

Introduce commands like update, which allow you to dynamically adjust settings as user interactions change their consent choices.

Technical Aspects

Explain how Consent Mode can affect data collection, passing of client ID information, and functionality like the conversion linker. Briefly mention the impact on third-party cookies and potential use for fraud prevention.

Consent Mode & Its Impact on Data

Consent Mode,  especially with strict user choices, will naturally affect website analytics and reporting. Here’s what to understand:

  • Data Modeling: Google Consent Mode can use modeling to partially compensate for data not collected due to denied consent. For example, if Google Analytics can’t directly track a portion of users, modeling attempts to fill in those gaps for reporting purposes.
  • Reporting Changes: It’s essential to be prepared for analytics discrepancies after implementing consent mode. Site owners could see a decrease in recorded metrics like visits, sessions, or conversions, especially when implementing default consent that starts very strict.

Consent Mode & User Experience

  • Consent Banners: Tie this tightly into the CMP. Emphasize a clear, non-intrusive banner design that doesn’t disrupt the visitor’s flow.
  • Default Consent: Discuss the balance between default consent mode (minimal initial data collection) and respecting the user’s right to a clear consent overview. Explain the consent overview icon that Google may display if a visitor hasn’t interacted with the banner yet.
  • Beyond the Initial Visit: Highlight what happens if a user changes their consent on subsequent pages, and how a CMP paired with consent update calls handles that within GTM.


Consent Mode in Google Tag Manager is a powerful tool for aligning website data collection with user privacy rights. By understanding its functionality and carefully implementing it, you’ll enhance your website’s compliance, build trust, and respect the preferences of your visitors. Implementing Consent Mode is a proactive step towards stronger privacy practices. It shows respect for your users’ choices.

Implementing Consent Mode may require some upfront technical knowledge, but Google provides comprehensive documentation. Are you ready to take this important step in respecting user privacy and demonstrating your website’s commitment to a positive user experience? Let us know if you need help.

Stay tuned for more updates and in-depth technical guides on Consent Mode setup!

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