Marked by uncertainties between GDPR requirements, ECJ and BGH judgments and the feared but postponed ePrivacy regulation, the past year has put the online marketing scene on alert. In order to make sure to not become the subject of legal actions and follow a user-friendly tracking policy, many publishers and shop owners activated consent banners in a cloak-and-dagger operation – mostly with devastating effects on data. Such so-called “consent banners” often just affect the tag manager functionality, so the complete tracking is enabled or disabled by just one click. The possibility to close the banner without any consent choice makes data loss even worse. Due to such unthought technical behavior and a missing consent strategy, the measurable traffic often collapses to a level of 10 to 30 percent compared to previous periods. However, as most of the websites and shops businesses rely on online data to monitor and improve their performance, a strategic basis for consent management should be a top priority.
How to Avoid Data Loss?
Hasty developments usually just offer one added value: a quick remedy from unpleasant duties. But the key to keeping data quality on a consistent level is decisive technical extensions of the existing solutions. There are various possibilities to support an ongoing data acquisition and meet the valid legal requirements. One of these possibilities is clustering tracking services according to their purpose such as marketing or technical necessity and just adjusting the tag firing rules within the tag manager so they match the corresponding user decision. In addition, the banner should not be able to be closed without giving any kind of information. Those features require some programming but are worth the effort from a strict performance-oriented perspective.
However, when it comes to details, such solutions also require detailed information about each service or even each specific cookie. To keep the guideline of transparency, users should be informed about what information is recorded, how is it used and which parties are involved in the processing. In fact, not every service provider wishes to show their hand and keeps its detailed tool specs transparent. Because of this, understanding the exact functionality and a user-friendly preparation might be challenging.
Consent management tools often provide relief by offering a ready-to-use solution – legally, technically and strategically. The way it works is simple, as the tools basic structure resembles to common databases. To minimize higher recurring monthly tool fees, a lot of companies decide to rely on self-developed solutions instead of paid products. Over time, this might be more economical regarding the budget, but is it truly the best path to choose?
Ready-to-Use vs. Self-Developed Solutions
Like many other questions about the ability to cover work and processes in-house, it is similar here. To come up with the best solution there are three major points to consider:
When it comes to implementation, you need more than technically specialized staff to cover the development process of the general tool setup and integration. The legal component should be covered as well. This is not just about legal consultants, but also legally trained developers who are familiar with the current requirements. Also, it might be necessary to have an advanced technical understanding when researching the integrated tools’ technical specs.
When developing a tool that must cover various features and store user-consent for longer time periods, technical structures such as server capacity might not be available at present. In this case, it is necessary to expand the existing options. In case the required manpower or even knowledge is missing to implement the project, an extra budget to hire staff with the corresponding skills or to engage external consultants should be considered as well.
Besides questioning the availability of resources with the necessary knowledge or the budget to cover it by hiring specially trained staff, time is an important factor. How long does it take to develop a fully functional consent management tool? Regarding the project’s priority, it might take several weeks including a test phase to present the finalized product, even if the needed resources are available. And this is not a one-shot project. Technical service providers, such as Google and all its related services, change cookies and functionality regularly. In fact, there is usually no way to know if and which technical adoptions have taken place, so the Q&A process for researching and technical extensions should be generously calculated as well.