What Is a Consent Management Platform?

Brock Munro
January 8, 2024
June 13, 2024
What Is a Consent Management Platform?

Data privacy regulations are increasingly becoming more stringent, necessitating the emergence of consent management solutions as important tools for publishers and advertisers. So, what is a consent management platform, and why is it essential in our digital interactions?

At its core, a consent management platform (CMP) is a digital gatekeeper designed to ensure that websites navigate the balance between personalized user experiences and respecting individual privacy preferences. 

Whether it be on blogs or websites that use native ads platforms, collecting and managing user information and consent in accordance with existing data privacy laws is imperative for all. Since the beginning of the internet, cookies have performed this function of storing user information, in turn allowing for tailored online experiences. However, their usage also raises questions about data privacy compliance.

This is where CMPs come in.

In this article, we navigate through the layers of CMPs, dissecting their role in managing user consent, evaluating the implications of cookies, and examining the nuances of compliance with the CCPA and GDPR across different countries.

Table of contents:

Consent Management Platforms: Stats and Facts

What Is Consent?

When Is Consent Required?

What Is a Consent Management Platform?

How Does a Consent Management Platform Work?

What Are the Features to Look For in a Consent Management Platform?

Why Do Publishers Need a Consent Management Platform?

Best Consent Management Platforms for Publishers in 2024

Choosing the Best Consent Management Platform

Final Thoughts

FAQs

Consent Management Platforms: Stats and Facts

In 2022, the worldwide consent management market reached a valuation of $458.89 million, with a projected growth of $2021.05 million by 2030. This signifies a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4% from 2022 to 2030. 

The CMP Market is witnessing prominent growth across key regions, with North America, comprising the United States, Canada, and Mexico, emerging as a frontrunner, showcasing robust adoption. 

In Europe, countries like Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Russia, and Turkey contribute significantly to the market's momentum. The Asia-Pacific region, with its dynamic economies such as China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam, is a pivotal player in driving CMP adoption. 

South America, encompassing Brazil, Argentina, and Columbia, among others, is also making substantial strides. On the other hand, the Middle East and Africa, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa, exhibit growing influence in the CMP landscape.

What Is Consent?

Consent is the voluntary and informed agreement or permission given by an individual. It is important in areas like data privacy, where it ensures explicit approval for processing personal information, especially in practices like using cookies to collect data. 

This ensures that their data is collected, stored, or utilized for specific purposes only when they have willingly provided permission. 

When Is Consent Required?

It is important to obtain consent from users before their personal information is collected, processed, or used to maintain transparency and respect privacy. There are varying global privacy laws regarding user consent. Most websites follow one of the following two approaches, depending on the laws applicable in their area of operation:

Opt-in Consent

In certain jurisdictions, such as those adhering to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the approach mandated is one that requires opt-in consent, meaning explicit user consent must be obtained to process data.

Opt-out Consent

Opt-out consent principle, allows data processing unless users specifically decline or have a right to opt out of having their data sold to third parties.

What Is a Consent Management Platform? 

A Consent Management Platform (CMP) is a software solution designed to eliminate the possibility of misleading advertising and to help website owners and online businesses manage user consent for data processing activities, particularly in relation to cookies and similar technologies. 

Although debates regarding the use of first-party vs third-party cookies are ongoing, obtaining consent is essential for both. Thus, irrespective of whether a website uses first party or third party cookies, a consent management system can help them better navigate the data privacy landscape.

How Does a Consent Management Platform Work?

A CMP is a sophisticated software that works via an eight-step process:

1. Cookie Detection

In this stage, the CMP thoroughly scans the website to identify elements such as cookies, tracking pixels, and other technologies in use. This process also involves gathering detailed information about the purpose of each technology and the data it collects.

2. Consent Banner Display

Upon a user's visit to the website, the CMP showcases a banner to inform users about the utilization of cookies and obtain user consent. The banner is designed to be clear, concise, and easily accessible.

3. Consent Options

Following the banner display, users are presented with different consent choices. This entails options such as accepting all cookies, selecting specific categories of cookies for acceptance, or rejecting all cookies. Some CMPs even allow users to set individual preferences for each cookie or technology.

4. Consent Logging

Once a user provides consent, the CMP records these choices through consent logging. This information is securely stored and ensures that only authorized cookies and technologies are employed based on the user's consent.

5. Cookie Management

Cookie Management is a critical aspect where the CMP regulates the activation of cookies and technologies based on the user's consent. To safeguard user privacy and demonstrate compliance with data protection regulations Cookies are activated only when the user has explicitly granted consent.

6. Reporting and Analytics

The CMP generates reports and analytics, offering insights into user consent data. These reports help websites understand user interactions with the consent banner and how they choose to manage their privacy. This data is valuable for enhancing user experience and maintaining compliance with data protection regulations.

7. Preference Management

Some CMPs provide additional features, such as preference management for managing consent. This allows users to change their preferences at any time and update their consent choices.

8. Continuous Monitoring

Continuous monitoring involves the constant observation by the CMP to detect any alterations on the website that could affect user consent. This proactive monitoring ensures that the CMP remains up-to-date and compliant with the latest data protection regulations.

What Are the Features to Look For in a Consent Management Platform?

Below are some key features that effective CMPs must have.

Transparent Consent Collection

An effective CMP ensures that organizations unequivocally communicate with users, clearly articulating the purpose behind collecting their data by obtaining explicit consent for each specific data processing activity.

Granular Consent Options

CMPs empower users by providing granular consent options, allowing them to make nuanced decisions about the types of data processing activities they are comfortable with. This level of customization respects user autonomy and preferences.

User-Friendly Consent Interface

The internet accommodates users with varying levels of technical proficiency, and the design of the consent interface is critical. A user-friendly CMP makes sure that the consent banner and interface are not only easy to navigate but also comprehensible to users with diverse levels of digital literacy.

Multilingual Support

The global nature of online interactions calls for a multilingual approach. CMPs, with support for multiple languages, break down language barriers. This inclusive feature ensures that users from different linguistic backgrounds can fully comprehend the consent requests and make informed decisions about their personal data.

Revocation of Consent

User agency extends beyond initial consent. CMPs should acknowledge this by providing users with the ability to easily withdraw consent at any time. The revoke consent feature reinforces the dynamic nature of an individual’s consent, aligning with the evolving expectations of privacy-conscious individuals.

Regular Updates and Compliance

The landscape of data privacy legislation is dynamic, with regulations and best practices continually evolving. A well-maintained CMP is not a static tool but is dynamically and regularly updated to align with changes in data regulations and industry standards. This commitment to compliance ensures that organizations stay ahead in the ever-changing data protection landscape.

Why Do Publishers Need a Consent Management Platform?

The implementation of a consent management system is not merely a legal checkbox but a strategic imperative for businesses aiming to establish trust and transparency. 

A consent management platform doesn't mean a publisher will be compliant with all the provisions in a data protection regulation. But it brings them one step closer.

According to OneTrust, 44% of companies using consent and preference management systems see increased brand trust as a major advantage.

Best Consent Management Platforms for Publishers in 2024

Please note that because these are not deep-dive reviews, we’ve listed the following platforms alphabetically rather than in order of preference.

1. Cookiebot

Cookiebot

Cookiebot is another prominent player in the online privacy landscape, focusing specifically on cookie consent management. Founded in 2012 and acquired by Usercentrics in 2020, it offers a powerful Cookie Consent Management Platform (CMP) that helps websites comply with various cookie regulations, including GDPR and ePrivacy.

While Cookiebot focuses primarily on cookie consent, it offers additional features like consent management for other trackers, script management, and data breach notifications. This comprehensive approach makes it a compelling solution for businesses seeking a robust, user-friendly legal compliance tool.

Cookiebot's automated scanning functionality identifies and categorizes cookies and trackers on a website. This automated process simplifies the complex task of managing these digital elements.

The platform also includes a customizable cookie consent banner, serving as an informative interface for users. To inform visitors about the cookies in use and allow them to grant or deny consent based on their preferences.

Pros

  • Scales as you grow
  • Integrates with any website
  • Affordable Pricing
  • Simple Setup

Cons

  • Poor Customer Support

Publisher Benefits

Facilitates consolidated consent for various domains, simplifying the process for the same user who only needs to grant consent once during their initial site visit, with that user's consent extending to all subsequent websites. This proves advantageous for publishers managing multiple websites.

2. CookieYes

CookieYes

CookieYes is a comprehensive solution to help businesses comply with data privacy laws like PIPEDA, GDPR and CCPA. It offers a free WordPress plugin that seamlessly integrates a customizable cookie banner, allowing users to manage consent preferences for different cookie categories. 

Also, a paid web app provides a complete cookie management platform with advanced features such as granular cookie control, cookie syncing, detailed consent logs, and marketing and analytics tools integrations.

The key features of CookieYes include a fully customizable cookie consent banner that can be tailored to match website branding and comply with regulations. Users can define different cookie categories, granting consent individually or for all categories simultaneously. 

The platform allows businesses to record and manage user consent preferences, with geolocation targeting to display the cookie consent banner only to collect consent from users in applicable locations. 

Multi-language support enables translating the banner and consent form for a global audience. Advanced reporting features help track user consent statistics and generate detailed reports for compliance purposes. 

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • User Friendly.

Cons

  • Not Suitable for large businesses

Publisher Benefits

An easily integrated platform with quick setup benefits publishers by saving time and reducing technical requirements which leads to reduced costs and easier access to advanced features.

3. Cookie Pro

Cookie Pro

CookiePro is a platform designed to assist businesses in managing cookie consent and ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA. The platform automatically scans websites and mobile apps, identifying and categorizing cookies and tracking technologies. 

Like other tools in the list, It offers a customizable cookie banner for users to grant or deny consent, providing granular control over individual cookies and supporting various consent mechanisms.

Key features of CookiePro include a free website scanner, pre-built templates for quick compliance with GDPR and CCPA, multilingual support, integration capabilities with existing systems, real-time testing for optimal conversion rates, dynamic language detection, and mobile app scanning and consent management. 

The platform also facilitates efficiently handling data subjects’ access and consumer requests. Advanced reporting and analytics provide insights into user consent behavior that allow businesses to optimize their cookie strategy.

Pros

  • User-friendly UI
  • Detailed Reporting

Cons

  • Steep learning curve for users with limited technical knowledge. 

Publisher Benefits

It’s a hassle-free one-stop solution for publishers because it provides a complete solution for cookie compliance that includes tools like cookie scanners, privacy rights automation, etc.

4. One Trust

One Trust

OneTrust provides business-to-business (B2B) security, data governance, internet and privacy compliance software. It was founded in 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, and has grown to be a leading player in the space.

They offer a comprehensive platform known as the Trust Intelligence Platform, enabling organizations of all sizes to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of data regulations and compliance.

With features ranging from data discovery and classification to cookie consent and user access management, OneTrust empowers publishers to build trust with their customers and stakeholders through responsible and ethical data practices. 

The platform includes several features that support this approach, such as managing privacy and security compliance obligations, discovering and classifying data, minimizing data collection and retention, obtaining individual consent, responding to data subject requests, conducting privacy impact assessments, and monitoring and auditing their privacy and security programs.

Pros

  • Facilitates seamless integration with existing tech stacks such as Adobe Advertising Cloud and Facebook.
  • Ideal for enterprise and corporate businesses.

Cons

  • Expensive for smaller businesses or startups
  • Complex setup and usage experience.

Publisher Benefits

The tool carefully analyzes user data to provide useful insights for publishers aiming to enhance opt-in rates. By examining user behavior, preferences, and trends, this platform gives publishers the information needed to make informed decisions. This data-driven approach allows publishers to implement focused strategies, increasing the chances of users willingly opting in.

5. Osano

Osano

Osano, founded in 2018 and based in Austin, Texas, is a data privacy platform committed to making data privacy accessible and affordable for organizations of all sizes. The platform helps organizations navigate and comply with data privacy laws, offering a suite of tools for consent management, data subject rights, data mapping, and more.

Osano's CMP includes consent optimization features such as A/B testing, advanced analytics, and pre-built compliance templates. The platform brings various benefits to organizations, including reduced risk of fines and penalties, increased trust and transparency with users, improved user experience, and scalability for growing businesses.

Osano's unique features include its universal consent management for all tracking technologies, a Discovery/Listener Mode that scans websites for tracking technologies without affecting user experience, a customizable cookie Consent Manager to match branding, and Cookie Policy Templates for easy customization.

Pros

  • Automates consent collection and management

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Offers basic reporting which may be insufficient for certain organizations

Publisher benefits

The automation of consent collection allows resource allocation for more efficient operations.

6. Trust Arc

Trust Arc

TrustArc's Consent Management Platform (CMP) offers a simplified solution for businesses navigating the complexities of online privacy regulations. This powerful tool facilitates transparent consent, user preference management, and seamless integration with existing systems for compliance with international regulations.

Businesses can design customizable and visually appealing consent banners through the platform, allowing users to specify their data-sharing preferences in multiple languages.

The CMP centralizes user preferences, providing an easy-to-use interface for opting in and out. It also maintains detailed consent records, offering a centralized view of user preferences across all platforms and channels.

Maintaining evolving regulations is simplified through TrustArc's continuous updates and expert guidance. The platform incorporates data governance and security features to safeguard user data, providing businesses with a comprehensive solution to ethical and responsible data collection.

In addition to these features, TrustArc offers expert privacy consulting and global 24/7 support. By leveraging TrustArc's platform, businesses can ensure ethical data collection, regulatory compliance, and the establishment of trust for long-term success across various industries.

Pros

  • Simple user interface.
  • Supports more than 900 global regulations.
  • Provides a portal to handle user data requests quickly and efficiently.

Cons

  • Relatively costly
  • Challenging UI

Publisher Benefits

Dynamic privacy intelligence informs publishers about specific privacy requirements aligned with their business goals. This ensures compliance, minimizes legal risks, and builds customer trust through responsible data management, enhancing the overall competitiveness of publishers.

Choosing the Best Consent Management Platform

The process of selecting a good consent management platform can be confusing because of the abundance of options available. To guide you in making an informed decision, consider the following key factors:

Compliance

Ensuring that the CMP covers the specific regulations relevant to a business (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) is basic. Choose a platform that stores data in regions compliant with your target audience's privacy regulations. 

Functionality

When evaluating CMPs, consider the diversity of consent mechanisms, including consent controls, cookie banners, and preference centers. Verify that the CMP provides clear and transparent details about the data collected and its intended purpose. Also, assess the platform's integration capabilities with your existing infrastructure and tools.

User Experience

Opt for a CMP that allows customization of the consent banner and preference center to match your brand's look and feel. It is imperative for a platform to support the languages of your target audience and comply with accessibility standards for website visitors with disabilities.

Scalability

Consider the platform's ability to handle your current and anticipated data volume. Choose a CMP that can manage fluctuations in website traffic without compromising performance. It is essential to select a platform that regularly updates its features to stay compliant with evolving regulations, ensuring it remains future-proof.

Security

Prioritize platforms that ensure data encryption for all collected data at rest and in transit. Look for CMPs with access controls to restrict user access to sensitive data and undergo regular security audits.

Cost

Choose a pricing model that resonates with your business needs and budget, whether subscription-based or pay-per-use. Be aware of any hidden costs associated with implementation, training, and support.

Support

Select a CMP with responsive and knowledgeable customer support available through multiple email, phone, and live chat channels. Give extra points to platforms with active communities where users can connect and share experiences.

Final Thoughts

CMPs empower website visitors with transparent options, and their importance is reflected in the growing global market of data privacy. The key is choosing a good consent management platform that aligns with your business needs to ensure ethical data practices in this privacy-centric era.

User consent, eventually, is central to establishing trust, which in turn impacts publisher revenue. 

Publift has been helping publishers go beyond AdSense and Google Ad Manager, and increase their revenue by up to 50%. Book a demo to connect with Publift's experts, and experience the impact on ad revenue firsthand.

FAQs 

Do You Need a Consent Management Platform for Your Website?

A Consent Management Platform is necessary to ensure legal compliance, build user trust by respecting privacy preferences, and avoid penalties associated with data protection laws.

What Is GDPR Compliance?

GDPR compliance refers to adhering to the General Data Protection Regulation, a comprehensive set of data protection laws established by the European Union (EU). 

Organizations that process the personal data of EU residents must comply with GDPR requirements. This involves obtaining clear and informed consent for personal data processing for data security and providing individuals with the right to access and control their data. 

Non-compliance can result in significant fines, making GDPR compliance important for businesses operating within the European Union or handling the personal data of its residents.

What Are Cookies?

Cookies are minor text files that websites place on a user's browser when they visit the site. It’s for various purposes like session management, personalization, tracking, and advertising.

Although cookies contribute to an improved user experience, the rise of privacy concerns prompted Google to take action which is slowly leading to the death of third-party cookies. Some users choose to disable cookies or adjust browser settings to control their usage. 

This shift has also led to the development and adoption of various third-party cookies alternatives.

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