Starting in version 1.122.0, released March 11, 2024, Site Kit will give users the option to enable consent mode. This follows the introduction of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) that requires companies to obtain user consent before they can collect personal data.
The Google EU user consent policy (EUUCP) requires site owners to implement consent mode for Ads and Analytics customers in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom.

About consent mode

Consent mode interacts with a Consent Management Platform (CMP) or custom implementation to obtain visitor consent via a cookie consent banner or similar approach. Consent mode receives users’ consent choices from a cookie banner or widget and dynamically adapts the behavior of Analytics and Ads tags that create or read cookies. 

When consent mode is enabled, visitors to your site from countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom will not be included in Analytics and Ads tracking by default as required by the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This means that only visitors who have explicitly given consent via a consent management plugin will have their data tracked. When visitors deny consent, tags communicate this to Google and cookie data is not stored. If you are using Google Analytics 4, Google fills the subsequent data collection gaps with conversion modeling and behavioral modeling.

Enabling consent mode

Users will receive a prompt to enable consent mode when Site Kit can detect that Ads are in use on the site. Click on the Enable consent mode button to enable consent mode for your site. 

Consent mode banner

If you select Maybe later, the banner will appear at a later date if you haven’t enabled consent mode. The banner gives you the option to Enable consent mode or Don’t show again which will stop consent mode banners from being displayed on your dashboard. 

Consent mode banner after selecting Maybe later

You can also enable consent mode by going to Site Kit > Settings > Admin Settings.

Consent mode enabled

Consent mode should be enabled on your site if at least one of the following applies:

  • The Analytics module is connected in Site Kit
  • Google Ads is in use

If you don’t enable consent mode and you have Analytics or Ads connected, tracking for users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom will be blocked.

Recommended label for consent mode

Once you have enabled consent mode, Site Kit will add the necessary tag to your site with the default consent preferences. You can verify that your Google consent mode tag has been placed by checking your website’s source code and searching for “Google tag (gtag.js) Consent Mode snippet added by Site Kit. 

In order for consent mode to work properly, the WP Consent API plugin as well as a consent management plugin must also be installed and configured. If these are not already installed, you will be prompted to install them below the consent mode toggle.

WP Consent API

WP Consent API is a plugin that standardizes the communication of accepted consent categories between plugins.

The WP Consent API plugin does not handle the actual process of getting user consent; that is done via the consent management plugin. However, it will show you how many plugins you have without Consent API support and will improve compliance on your site by ensuring smooth communication between cookie banner plugins and plugins that set cookies or track user data.

When consent mode is enabled, Site Kit will check if you have the WP Consent API plugin active on your site.

Consent mode enabled without WP Consent API installed

If the WP Consent API plugin is not detected, you will be prompted to install it. Click on the Install button and follow the instructions to activate the plugin. Once this has been done, Site Kit will detect that WP Consent API is active on your site.

Consent mode enabled with WP Consent API installed

Consent management plugin

Once consent mode is enabled and the WP Consent API plugin has been installed and detected, the final step is to install a consent management plugin to prompt users to accept or decline cookies. When using Site Kit, site owners are responsible for managing notice and consent requirements – including EUUCP requirements – as described in Google’s User Consent Policy

Notice to install a consent management plugin

While Site Kit cannot verify compatibility of all WordPress plugins with the WP Consent API, there are a number of third-party plugins that allow you to block Google Analytics or Google Ads from capturing data until a visitor to the site consents through Google’s Consent Mode API. These plugins allow you to create a banner to allow users to approve or deny tracking.

While these plugins do provide their own integration with Google’s Consent Mode API, if you’ve enabled consent mode in Site Kit, you do not need to use any of their consent mode features as Site Kit already manages this for you. Using other consent mode features could cause possible conflicts with Site Kit. You will only need to add a cookie/consent banner using these plugins if you have enabled consent mode in Site Kit. 

Some of the consent management plugins that work natively with Site Kit by integrating with the WP Consent API include:

The WP Consent API includes a set of “consent categories” for the types of data collection that users consent to. By default, Site Kit will update consent for the statistics and marketing categories. When setting up your consent management plugin, be sure to turn on settings or otherwise indicate that you wish to collect statistics and marketing data so that these options are properly accounted for in your cookie banner.

Disabling consent mode

You can disable consent mode from Site Kit > Settings > Admin Settings. When choosing to disable consent mode, you will be presented with the following message.

The disable consent mode modal

The message explains that by disabling consent mode, the consent tag will be removed from your website. You will no longer be able to track the performance of your Ad campaigns and how visitors interact with your site via Analytics in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom.

After disabling consent mode, the WP Consent API plugin and your Consent Management Platform (CMP) plugin will remain active. These will need to be disabled separately.

 You can choose to Cancel at this stage or Disable consent mode.

Consent mode disabled

More Resources

More information on consent mode can be found below: