Consent Mode troubleshooting for Google Ads

This article gives advertisers a range of possible causes and solutions in order to troubleshoot issues when Consent Mode is not detected or the consent rate is low on their website.

For more information on Consent Mode and consent rate in Google Ads, see About Consent Mode.

Consent Mode is not detected on some of your pages.

Cause

The page doesn't have a Google tag/conversion linker tag or it may have a legacy AdWords Conversion Tracking (AWCT) tag. You can verify this in Tag Assistant by checking for legacy AW tags like in the following example.

Legacy AdWords Conversion Tracking tag.

Solution

Implement the Google tag/conversion linker tag on the page or check in Tag Assistant for legacy AWCT tags and replace them.

Cause

The page doesn't have the consent state set for ad_storage. Verify this in Tag Assistant by selecting the page and look at the Consent tab to see if ad_storage has a status under Page Consent State. If the consent state for ad_storage is missing/never set the Consent tab will be blank.

Blank Consent tab with no consent state set.

Blank Consent tab with no consent state set.

Page Consent State with some consent state set but not for ad_storage.

Some consent state but not for ad_storage.

Page Consent State with consent state assigned for ad_storage.

ad_storage consent state assigned

Solution

Deploy Consent Mode on the page. See the implementation example in the developer documentation for more information.

Cause

If the consent state is present at the page level, but consent states have been set too late (for example, after the Ads tags fired), this can also result in Consent Mode not being detected on your pages. The Consent tab will show "A tag read consent state before a default was set" error if this is the case.

A tag read consent state before a default was set.

Solution

  • For a Google Tag Manager implementation: Find the event that triggers the Google Ads conversion linker tag (usually the Container Loaded event) and make sure any consent-writing tags fire before this trigger. It is recommended that the Consent Initialization trigger is used for consent-writing tags.

    Google Ads Conversion Linker tag.

    Once updated, check if the consent states are present in the Container Loaded event.

    Consent state present in Container loaded event.
  • For a gtag implementation: Find the code that calls the API gtag('config', 'AW-xxxx') and make sure the gtag('consent', 'default') or gtag('consent', 'update') commands fire before any gtag('config') commands. Once updated, check if the consent states are present in the Config event.

    Consent states present in Config event.

Consent rate is low

Cause

The consent update did not occur(or didn't pass the correct states) even if the user granted consent in the banner. To verify this, grant consent in the banner and check if the updated consent state is set in Tag Assistant and reflects your choice.

User

Solution

Make sure the consent update command fires and passes the correct values when a user grants/denies consent.

Cause

Consent state not captured in consent pings solution.

Solution

Make sure you have set the default and update consent calls in the right order.

Cause

Sometimes the consent rate is low because users from specific regions get a default consent state of denied but never see a consent banner to grant/deny consent. This can occur for visitors from specific regions that don’t require a consent banner when a non-region specific default consent state of denied has been deployed (resulting in a consent rate of 0 for those visitors). To verify if this is happening, simulate a visitor from the specific region where the consent rate is low. If this is an issue the default consent state will be set, no update state will be set, and no banner will appear.

Solution

Align the consent banner and consent default command to target the same regions (the regions where consent is required). Don't leave any regions that never see a consent banner with a denied default consent state.

One other possible cause of a low consent rate is that the consent banner has poor visibility on the page. This is not a Consent Mode issue but related to how advertisers implement the banner.
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