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Mastering the Cookie Consent Banner

Dive into our comprehensive exploration of social media privacy policies. Our in-depth analysis breaks down and scrutinizes the privacy policies of key platforms including Threads, Twitter, LinkedIn, Meta, and Mastodon. We’ve worked tirelessly to dissect and understand these policies, providing you with a clear, concise overview and comparison. Discover the critical similarities and differences as we shed light on the often opaque world of social media data privacy.

Since October 31, 2020, the GDPR and ePrivacy regulations have forced web pages to respect the privacy of their visitors and users through Cookie Consent Banners. The regulations specifically state that users must expressly accept “Analytics” and “Marketing” cookies in the Cookie Consent Banners. Therefore, they must be “not selected.”

As a result, all online businesses, blogs, eCommerce, and SaaS companies… have noticed a decrease in their data. It is not a real data loss; it simply means less data in their analytics tools…

Based on the stats of our clients and participation in forums, it is estimated that the percentage of people who do not accept cookies when visiting a website is between 20% and 30%. This percentage will be even higher due to the excellent evangelization effort regarding data privacy carried out by Apple.

In his Speech to Stanford graduates in 2019, Tim Cook explains how the basis of our freedom as citizens lies in how cautious and careful we are with our privacy. Watch the speech here. Apple is making an excellent effort for users’ privacy and against its big (indirect) technological competitors. It started with Facebook.

The latest iOS 14 update allows users to decide which data to share with apps. As a result, Facebook and its advertisers have less data to work with, putting their ROIs at stake. And this is just the beginning!

Users don’t want to be tracked, they don’t want to be “remarketed”, and they don’t want to be profiled. It is not a question of whether cookies will die or not; it is about privacy. And before we keep going, please remember that privacy is not one-size-fits-all. Please always check with your legal team to see how this applies to your case and follow their recommendations.

Cookie acceptance statistics

In the following image, you can see how 75% of users accept cookies vs 25% who do not accept cookies. We are saying that according to interviews and clients, they have average percentages ranging between 20% and 30% of users who do not accept cookies. On the other hand, we find extreme cases of digital businesseswhere 80% do NOT accept cookies; incredible!

The even more critical problem is that 75%accept cookies. According to our customer analysis, especially in the eCommerce sector, 50% of users accept cookies, Analytics classifies this traffic as Direct because it doesn’t know the user’s referrer.

Accept Cookies when users land

28%

Only this traffic is completely real. Users land on your landing page, and GA knows where this traffic comes from.

Accept Cookies after landing

28%

This is the most common behaviour, especially for users that don’t know your brand. Users land, navigate, and then accept cookies. GA4 will assign this traffic to Direct traffic because Google Analytics doesn’t know the referral.

Do not accept cookies

28%

Usually, this is the percentage of users that don’t accept cookies.

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

On the one hand, almost 75% of users accept cookies, and an estimated 30% of the population has an adblocker installed. On the other hand, every month, the percentage of users who don’taccept cookies increases.

Users who accept cookies from the 2nd page viewed cause traffic increases in Direct sources. Here we have a traffic image that we have been able to segment with SEAL Metrics “with cookies. Users who have accepted cookies from the 2nd page viewed after implementing the cookie consent fixed footer:

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

Note: Google Analytics is classifying these clicks as Direct traffic.

Research conducted by Statista, called “Level of consent to cookies usage in the U.S. 2021, by age” , shows that in 2021, among 2000 people 42% of users don’t accept cookies when landing on a website.

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

Research conducted by Eurostat shows that in 2021 only 36.7% of the user who used the internet in the 3 months prior to the survey have ever changed the settings in their internet browser to prevent or limit cookies on any of their devices. As shown in the map we find the lowest percentages in eastern European countries.

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

Cookie consent banner structure

But what can we do? What can’t be done? What do I do with Google Analytics? Can I be fined I don’t know.

How does the cookie consent banner have to be?

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

Requirement

Accept Cookies after landing

Explicit Consent

Users must actively and clearly give consent for the use of cookies, especially “Analytics” and “Marketing” cookies. These options should be “not selected” by default.

Clear Information

The banner must clearly inform about which cookies are being used and for what purpose. It should be easy for the user to understand how cookies are used and how they affect their experience.

Option to Decline

Users must be able to decline all cookies that are not essential for the website’s operation.

Access to More Information

There should be a link or option for users to get more detailed information about cookies, including a detailed cookie policy.

Transparency

If analytics or advertising tools are used, it’s essential to inform users about what data is collected and how it’s used.

Data Retention

Information on how long data collected through cookies is retained should be clearly indicated.

Configuration Options

Users should be able to configure their cookie preferences, choosing which types of cookies they want to accept and which they want to decline.

Good Examples of Cookie Consent Banner:

The following are examples of some well-implemented banners that can help you choose the most suitable option for your website:

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

Cookie Consent Banners bad examples

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

We noticed something interesting on a few websites. If your Website loads the browser’s default language setting, make sure it does not load the US page for English for example if your US website does not comply with EU regulations.

Is your cookie consent banner working properly?

Complying with the EU cookie policy is important as a citizen. But it’s not just about using the cookie banner; it must function correctly. For this, we need to check if the cookie banner is properly implemented and does the job it was assigned: Managing cookies based on user decisions.

In addition to complying with regulations, Google can penalize our account if we don’t correctly implement our cookie policies.
Until now, getting a fine was one of the most prominent risks Marketers faced for not having acookie banner adequately implemented. The stakes just got higher, and you could get your Google Products banned👇

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

To help businesses determine if their cookie banner is functioning correctly, we have developed a solution that scans the URLs of your website and analyzes which cookies are being added without user consent. This way, you can: Ensure the banner is doing its job properly, avoid fines…

Cookie Scanner Tool

o to our Cookie Scanner and get your report in less than 3 minutes for free:

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data-21

How does the cookie consent banner have to be?

Most SEAL customers are currently using it as a complementary tool to their main analytics tool to get a full view of what’s going on. They still need the cookie consent banner on their site for their other analytics tool(s) to track.

If you want to get rid of the cookie consent banner and use SEAL as your main analytics tool:

(Note: Always check with your legal team for how this applies to your case and country. Privacy is not a one-size-fits-all.)

  • You have to inform of the use of essential cookies on your site. You can do that with a simple banner. Accepting/rejecting does not affect your tracking in this specific case.
  • You cannot have any pixel on your site that requires consent (Hotjar, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, Bing, etc…)

How it affects us

Regardless of the ethical part of privacy, we, as marketers, must continue with our work. But a new concept of Marketing opens up: Sustainable Marketing.

Sustainable Marketing consists of designing marketing campaigns that are:

  • Respectful of user privacy
  • Efficient and profitable
  • Based on data and creativity. What would science be without art?

So, they don’t lose users, they don’t waste their budget, and they don’t erode their brand.

How a Cookie Consent Banner works

If we want to achieve our goals, we need tornunderstand the rules then we’ll be able to breakrnthem.

If we understand how our web analytics platform tracks, how it assigns conversions to each channel, keyword… we’ll be able to understand our users’ journeys.

Nowadays, there is a reality: Cookie Consent Banner.

The cookie consent banner is part of our website that already has more interactions, but it is also the wall separating our users (data) from us.

This is why it’s so important to track the behavior of our users with our cookie consent banner; by understanding how users interact with it, we’ll be able to understand what kind of data we have to analyze.

How a Cookie Consent Banner works

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data-22

This is how the cookie consent banner actually works:

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

It’s a slight difference, but the cookie consent banner should allow users to navigate our webpage. So, the big problem is when users navigate our website, but we don’t know how many of them are navigating and interacting with our content and purchasing our products.

Once the users have seen the cookie consent banner, they have 3 options:

Options

Accept ALL cookies OR analytics cookies

Deny ALL Cookies

Accept cookies after the 2nd-page view (or later)

What can we do?

You can track all the interactions

You can’t track anything

You only can track when users accept cookies

Good for Marketers

Perfect for Marketers

You don’t have data from these users.

Awful!

Why is it awful when a user accepts cookies on the 2nd-page or later?

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data-23

It’s the journey of the user that lands on your website from SEO, but he/she accepts cookies in the 4th page view.

As we can track nothing previous cookie acceptance, once the user accepts cookies, we have lost the origin of this user.
When this user accepts cookies, this cookie shows up without referrer or origin, so GA4 and ALL web analytics will assign this click to Direct traffic.

If this journey ends with a purchase, the conversion will also be assigned to Direct traffic.

But the problem goes further than that because we’ll find our statistics completely broken because:

  1. Increase traffic from Direct traffic drastically.
  2. Google Ads conversions go down.
  3. The bounce rate goes up.
  4. Social conversions go down.
  5. Time per session goes down.
  6. GA4 Conversions don’t match reality.
  7. Page views per session go down.
  8. Your boss gets nervous.
  9. You get nervous.

You have to find a solution!

It would help if you answered what is happening with the previous 7 points.

So, you go to your Cookie Consent Platform > Statistics > Surprise!!

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

Green: Accept all

Orange: Reject all

You CAN’T attend a meeting with your boss and have doubts about the data.

This screenshot is from my Cookiebot account, an actual screenshot from my project adinton.com.

It’s expected that Cookiebot and other cookie consent platforms have no-rich data. This is NOT their goal, and the statistics you see on this page are the statistics of the use of the service that I’ve contracted. Period!

I have accurate statistics from the service that I’ve contracted.

But more is needed to answer the questions that, sooner or later, they will ask us.

Make decisions based on Cookie Banner Behaviour

We need to answer these common and important questions for our businesses:

  1. How many people are accepting cookies?
  2. How many people are rejecting cookies?
  3. How many people are clicking on “Configuration”?
  4. Filter per Source, Campaign, Medium, and even Term!
  5. Filter per Device and Operating System.

We need to go from the previous image to this image:

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

How to analyze your Cookie Consent Banner Analytics with no code

We’re going to track each interaction with our cookie consent banners without coding knowledge.
We need two solutions:

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

First of all, we need to know what we want to track. For this exercise, we will track:

  1. Cookie Consent Banner Impressions: How many times was the banner triggered?
  2. Clicks on “Accept all”
  3. Clicks on “Only necessary.”
  4. Clicks on others.

Setting Up  Cookieless Analytics Platform (SEALmetrics)

Why have I chosen SEAL Metrics as an Analytics Platform?

  • GDPR doesn’t apply because it doesn’t track people.
  • It doesn’t need consent to track.
  • Track 100% of your traffic.
  • It can track any event: URLs, scrolls, SPA pages… ALL!
  • It can assign the event to source, campaign, terms….
  • It works in real-time.
 

So, in SEAL Metrics, we will create as many micro-conversions as events we want to track. As we said previously.

SEAL Metrics setup

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

Repeat this step per each micro-conversion to create.

Once we have all the micro conversions created, we go to Google Tag Manager.

Google Tag Manager setup

Creating the Trigger for the “Allow All Cookies” button

Go to your Google Tag Manager Account.

Triggers > New Trigger

Set up the trigger:

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

Creating the triggers for “Deny All” , “Configuration”

Duplicate 5.2.1 trigger and change the value of:

Click text > Contains > Allow all cookies

For

Click text > Contains > [Text_in_the_button_you_want_track]

Trigger when the cookie consent banner shows up

This process is a little bit more difficult.

  1. Go to your site
  2. Your cookie consent banner is triggered.
  3. Right Click > Inspect
  4. Click on the button.
  5. Select part of the cookie consent banner.
Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

You’ll see how in the right column there is a clearer part.

You’ll see something like that:

<div id=”CybotCookiebotDialog”name=”CybotCookiebotDialog” role=”dialog” ariadescribedby=”CybotCookiebotDialogBodyContentTitle” lang=”en” dir=”ltr” ng-non-bindablestyle=”display: block; opacity: 1; top: 975px; width: 100%; height: auto;”>The important part is: id=”CybotCookiebotDialog”

You can copy CybotCookiebotDialog

Create the trigger in GTM

  1. Check the option “Observe DOM changes”. It must be checked otherwise it didn’t work.
  2. In Element ID you must paste CybotCookiebotDialog
Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data
  1. Associate each trigger with the corresponding tag. > Submit changes.

Cookie Consent Banner Mathematics

We have started to generate statistics, and we can create a chart like this:

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data
  • Cookie banner impressions: each time the cookie banner was triggered.
  • Ghosting: Users don’t do anything. NO accept No reject cookies.
  • Accept All, Reject and Configuration, and Ghosting NEED a previous cookie banner impression.

How can we calculate how many users are “ghosting” our cookie consent banner?

We’re going to add variables to make it easier to explain.

Impact Cookie Consent Banners on Analytics Data

How many sessions are ghosting our cookie banner?

(E)/(Avg Page Views / Sessions) = Session with Ghosting (F)

How many sessions are we not tracking?

(F) + (C) = Sessions that we are not tracking (G)
[(F) + (C)] / SEAL Metrics Session = % of visits without tracking.
And you can apply these calculations per source, campaigns, OS, and Device.

Consent to track based on GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation:

The following table summarizes what you need to comply with the regulations depending on the technology used to analyze your data.

Conclusion:

Fortunately, the world is changing, users are changing, and our profession and tools are changing. The key is to adapt. Some of us experienced the SEO Keywords blackout with the famous (not provided) in Google Analytics. And we kept going! With the growing sense of awareness around privacy issues, regulators and third parties such as Apple will have to get used to working with either less data or more limited data. We simply work with the tools at our disposal to be as efficient as possible in our work.

Start tracking your traffic legally

Add SEAL’s pixels to your site and in less than 5 minutes, you’ll start to see 100% of your visits and revenue.

Trusted by brands who care about privacy as much as you do.