Google Ads Audience Remarketing Lists Shrink Post-Consent Mode V2 [Collaborative Guide]

Following the Consent Mode Version 2 deadline, PPC advertisers have observed a significant decrease in audience list sizes across Search, YouTube, Gmail, and the Demand Generation Network. This change affects both lists created through Google Ads and those imported from GA4, underscoring the impact of privacy regulations on remarketing strategies.

This update highlights the ongoing adjustments within the PPC advertising landscape, driven by enhanced privacy measures.

If you are utilizing Google Ads for remarketing purposes, you should review their audience list sizes and consider strategies to mitigate the impact of these changes.

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[post] (Daniel Ciubotaru)

To understand this topic, let's break it down into understandable segments for someone unfamiliar with digital marketing concepts like consent management, remarketing, and analytics.

Deep Dive

To understand the issue better

What is Google Ads Remarketing?

Remarketing in Google Ads enables businesses to show ads to users who have previously visited their website. It's a way to re-engage users who have shown interest but still need to complete an action or make a purchase. This technique relies on cookies to track user behaviour across the web.

However, It still requires a minimum of audiences. [Google Ads]

Consent Mode is designed to help advertisers and website owners comply with privacy regulations like the Digital Markets Act (DMA). It allows websites to adjust how Google tags behave based on user consent. It respects user preferences regarding cookie usage and data collection while providing valuable insights, albeit in a limited and privacy-compliant manner.

On March 6th, Google introduced adjustments related to Consent Mode Version 2. This version aims to enhance privacy compliance by modifying how user consent is handled and how data is collected and used for analytics and advertising purposes. [Consent Mode V2 on Website]

The Issue at Hand

Several digital marketers and website owners have noticed a significant drop in their remarketing lists and overall analytics data after implementing CoMo V2.

This drop seems to be a result of some fundamental changes and challenges:

Consent handling and data collection: The stricter consent requirements under Consent Mode V2 mean fewer users may consent to cookie use, resulting in reduced trackable user data.

This directly affects the ability to remarket to these users, and to check for a drop in your case, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Tools and Settings in your Google Ads account.
  2. Open the Shared Library section.
  3. Select Audience Management.
  4. Click on Details under Google Ads Tags.

You'll be able to see if there is a drop in your case.

Behavioural modelling limitations: CoMo V2 includes a feature that estimates user behaviour even when consent is not given for cookie use. However, this modelling has stringent requirements and restrictions, making it challenging for smaller websites to benefit. It also requires time to kick in. [Google Analytics]

Client-Side vs. Server-Side Tracking: The issue appears more prominent with client-side implementations, where tracking relies on scripts running in the user's browser. On the other hand, server-side monitoring seems less affected, possibly due to different mechanisms for handling user data and consent.

[Still Under Investigation] Potential Bugs and Misconfigurations: There are mentions of possible bugs in how parameters are handled in CoMo V2 or misconfigurations leading to data loss or incorrect data attribution (e.g., attributing sales to the wrong source or channel).

Contact Matteo Zambon if you have this issue.

Unpopular Opinion: A Silver Lining?

Despite the challenges, the reduced remarketing capabilities allow marketers to diversify their strategies. Instead of relying solely on cookie-based tracking, they can prioritize privacy-compliant methods like collecting first-party data through channels such as email, particularly during checkout. This shift allows for improvement in messaging, positioning and the cultivation of genuine relationships with potential prospects and customers.

Marketing Tips

  • Audit your remarketing lists: Determine whether actual sessions, users, sales and conversion metrics have declined or if the issue is primarily data. If the drop is significant, it may be connected to this issue. However, a minor decline is considered normal.
  • Consider the minimum audience threshold: Please check if your lists dropped when CoMo V2 was implemented and if you are still reaching the minimum threshold for remarketing.
  • Expand your program using your first-party data: Confirm the freshness of your customer match, ensure consent mode is present, and use those audiences instead. Depending on where the person is in your funnel, tailor messaging (e.g. previous customer last year).
  • Prioritize the implementation of Consent Mode V2: People in the EEA or California anticipate and value consent and may not react positively if remarketed after refusing consent. Please ensure that you adhere to the highest ethical standards in your practices.
  • Switch to client-side? Consent is still essential on the client or server side. Those solutions improve privacy and security for website visitors and ensure that consent choices are effectively communicated across systems, preventing unauthorized data collection or sharing.


The transition to Consent Mode V2 presents a complex challenge for digital marketers, balancing privacy compliance with the need for effective remarketing and analytics. While it may require adjustments and exploration of new strategies, it also pushes the industry towards more privacy-friendly practices, benefiting users and enhancing brand trust in the long term.

Expert Opinion: Remember that the point of consent is to let the user assume control over their data flows. If they choose not to allow tracking on the landing page, then there's nothing that Basic consent mode can do to rectify that. Web analytics tools are plagued with inconsistencies, with ad blockers, browser tracking protections, multi-device browsing, network issues, and such preventing a 100% accurate dataset from being gathered. Consent, for once, is something that's deliberately making the data inaccurate, and that's because the user finally has a legally protected say in how their personal data is processed. This is the world we live in. It's good to accept it and not frame it as some big calamity. [Comment] (Simo Ahava)
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