Google Analytics 4: All You Need To Know About Consent Mode

With the release of Google Analytics 4, Google has introduced an important new privacy feature: Consent Mode.

This feature allows users to decide what data to share with Google Analytics, giving them more control over their privacy. Let's take a detailed look at what Consent Mode is and how to manage it best.

What is Google Analytics 4 Consent Mode

When a user visits a website with Google Analytics 4 for the first time, they are shown a popup message where they can choose between three consent options:

Allow all: The user agrees to have their browsing data collected and used to generate reports and analysis.

Allow essential: Only anonymous essential data is collected for Analytics to function.

Don't allow: The user's data is not collected at all.

This replaces the "Analytics Cookies" option in previous versions and gives users more granular control over what data to share.

Why was Consent Mode introduced?

Consent Mode addresses users' growing focus on protecting personal data. With this feature, users can understand and decide what data to share with Google Analytics. It also helps website owners comply with privacy regulations like GDPR, as it requires explicit consent from the user.

Consent Mode specifically allows users to limit sharing their data with Google Analytics: this can lead to a loss of valuable information for analysis.

To overcome this problem, Google Analytics 4 integrates a functionality called behavioral modeling. What is it?

What is behavioral modeling

Behavioral modeling is a Google Analytics 4 technology that allows estimating analytics data even for users who reject direct tracking. It works by analyzing the interactions of users who consent to being tracked and identifying common patterns of behavior. These patterns are then applied to predict the actions of users with limited or no tracking.

For example, if tracked users average 3 pages per session, the system estimates that other users will also average 3 pages. In this way, behavioral modeling generates data as close to reality as possible.

It is a useful technique to avoid the loss of data due to some users rejecting tracking, allowing more accurate analysis despite limited consent.

How to configure Consent Mode

To use Consent Mode it must be enabled in Google Analytics 4 settings.

Admins can:

  • Customize the message shown to users explaining the consent options.
  • Choose when to show the popup message (on first visit, at regular intervals, etc).
  • Set a default consent before the user makes a choice.

Consent Mode can be implemented via Google Tag Manager for easier configuration.

Monitoring user consent

Once Consent Mode is enabled, it's important to regularly monitor consent metrics in the dedicated report. This shows the percentage of users for each consent option.

If the percentage of users that "Don't allow" is high, try improving the message to better explain the benefits of sharing data with Analytics.

Impact of Consent Mode on data

As some users may limit sharing their data, it's necessary to account for Consent Mode when analyzing data. Segment users based on consent options to understand the impact on key metrics like active users, sessions, and page views. Some may be underestimated.

Bottom line, Consent Mode gives users more control over privacy in Google Analytics 4.

Analytics managers must configure it carefully and monitor it to get accurate reporting.

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