A/B testing GDPR cookie notification bars?

I have a global client that wants to improve the acceptance rate on their cookie notifications so they can get larger sample sizes in analytics. They have a lot of European visitors under GDPR that opt out of tracking.

Has anybody tested different types/styles/messaging in cookie notification bars to improve acceptance? Or have you seen case studies or research in that area?

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Hey @Andrew,

It’s been a while, hope you and the family are doing well.

We’ve done a bit of work on cookie notifications and to be honest… nothing you can test is really going to move the needle that much.

People are pretty much “blind” to these so unless you make it a requirement to select an option before you can proceed, most will ignore it. There are obviously dark patterns with this and a lot of misinformation on the web.

  1. Look into alternative analytics platforms that don’t require optin and that don’t collect PII. Either server side or something close to it like Cloudflare analytics. UseFathom is another option that doesn’t require an optin. The issue with these is that they are pretty limited compared to Google Analytics.

  2. Look into Google’s Consent Mode - you might be able to get some more data even without consent.

  3. You might be able to get more acceptance of analytics tracking if you separate it from the rest of the tracking. Certain cookie notification bars allow the user to select different levels of tracking (Marketing, Retargeting, etc.)

As always, consult with a local attorney if in doubt since there is a lot of information on the web but most of it is either trying to sell you something or simply wrong.



Hey @Hristian, thank you! All is well here, thankfully. Just waiting it out at home. Say hi to your fam as well!

This info is extremely helpful, even if the answer is, “There’s not much room for improvement in acceptance rates.” Unfortunately moving away from GA360 to a new analytics platform isn’t an option given the company’s size and our little sliver of their attention. I had not considered consent mode but will dig deeper to see if that is an option.

Take care and hope we can find an opportunity to meet up again someday soon.

Thanks @Andrew and you know you have an open invite to visit if you are ever on this side of the pond :slight_smile:

Just a quick follow up on the above:

  1. Certain companies make it a requirement to pick a choice (track/don’t track) before they even show you the content you are after. It’s a poor UX in my opinion but it can work in certain industries if the desire to get the content is high enough. Also, often times these “gates” are worded in a really dark pattern-ish way to make sure you give consent.

  2. Depending on the particular country within the EU, local regulators have interpreted the GDPR a bit differently. France for example considers analytics to be part of the “necessary” tracking, while other countries require explicit consent. If your client’s traffic is coming predominantly from a single country or from a few major ones, it might be worth looking into the legal situation in that particular country.