Privacy-friendly website data collection. How does it work?


It’s been a while since the AVG/GDPR legislation got everyone riled up. When it came into effect in 2018, you were all of a sudden informed about cookies upon visiting a website. Cookie banners became a thing. Initially as a laughing stock, they were considered annoying and purposeless. We remember people stating: “why the pop-up, the cookies are there anyway”.

In most cases people didn’t fully understand how to interpret and implement the legislation. In some cases they might’ve known, but utilized the lack of enforcement. The internet still kind of resembles the wild wild west in this regard. This ambiguity resulted in various variations of cookie banners, including pop-ups that had no other technical functionality than informing a visitor that cookies were placed. This is something you still encounter to this day, but that is changing.

Stricter policies and enforcement

Stricter regulations from Brussels (the European Union) under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) force strongholds like Google to better handle the privacy of its users. Basically, this means that Google itself must ensure that users of the Google ecosystem comply with already existing privacy regulations such as the AVG/GDPR. 

As of March 2024 Google started to enforce stricter policies for users of tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads. This means that if you do not collect data in a privacy-friendly way, you will be limited in your usage of these platforms. Advertisers using remarketing functions already experience this. Companies that employ less advanced forms of advertising or data collection will very likely encounter this in the near future. That means now is as good a time as any to make sure you’ve got everything set up correctly.

How do you collect data in a privacy-friendly way?

Collecting data in a privacy-friendly way means that you have a cookie consent banner on your website that allows visitors to choose which cookies they accept or reject. The mechanism behind this banner needs to be connected to all cookies and platforms that you use to process data, ensuring that visitors’ choices are effectively implemented. So having a simple pop-up that can only be accepted (without options to customize or reject) or a banner that isn’t fully connected to your data collection is no longer sufficient.

The solution: employ a CMP

To comply with legislation, you have two options. You can either build a consent banner yourself or use certain WordPress plugins. In both caes, you’ll need to manually ensure all cookies are listed, regularly checked, and consent is processed correctly. This task can be technically complex and time-consuming, because even a simple website quickly accumulates a lot of cookies.

If you’re less technically inclined or want to save time, using a Google-certified Consent Management Platform (CMP) is the safest and most user-friendly solution. Examples of such platforms include CookieBot, CookieYes, and Complianz. These providers integrate seamlessly with Google Tag Manager, making setting it up more manageable. Their integrations are always kept up-to-date, ensuring you process all data in compliance with the AVG/GDPR.

Consent mode

There is an additional advantage of setting up through such a CMP. It allows Google’s Consent Mode V2 to function. When set up correctly, Google Analytics and Google Ads can employ certain techniques like cookieless pings and AI modeling to: 

  • Report on the number of unconscented ad clicks
  • Report on the total of unconscented conversions
  • Even model (through AI) how many conversions can be attributed to ad campaigns.

That’s really valuable data for analyzing website effectiveness and advertising campaigns. As with all statistical models, you need to collect sufficient data to be able to model missing data. For Google Analytics, this means you need approximately 1,000 daily unique visitors who consent to cookies, and for Google Ads, you need about 700 ad clicks in 7 days time.

To sum up, by setting up your cookies with a CMP in combination with Google’s Consent Mode, you will have more certainty that everything is set up correctly, save precious time and receive more complete data.

Do you want to collect your website data in a privacy-friendly way and still make the most of it?

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