GDPR and Google Tag Manager

Introduction

Before setting non technical cookies, the GDPR requires that your website visitors authorize you to do so.

So, before setting them, you should show a highly visible banner/popup where you write something like this:

We and our partners use cookies to collect user data from your device.
Please read our _privacy policy_.

[Ok, I accept]

Only when users hit the “Accept” buttom you can set non technical cookies.

But how can we easily implement that?

Google Tag Manager (GTM for short) is one of the choices.

Initial setup of Google Tag Manager

In Google Tag Manage you need to:

  1. create an account
  2. create a container - one for evey website, so it’s a good idea to name the container with the URL of the website

When creating a container, GTM will show a popup with two codes to be added to your website (you can also view them by going to AdminAccount SettingsInstall Google Tag Manager).

The first code, to be added in the <head> HTML tag, looks like this:

<!-- Google Tag Manager -->
<script>(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start':
new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],
j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.src=
'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f);
})(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-XXXXXXX');</script>
<!-- End Google Tag Manager -->

The above code is for site visitors with Javascript enabled.

The second code, to be added right after the start of the <body> HTML tag, looks like this:

<!-- Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->
<noscript><iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-XXXXXXX"
height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe></noscript>
<!-- End Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->

The above code is for site visitors with Javascript disabled.

Implementing the “Allow Cookies” popup

The pseudo-code of algorithm that handles the banner is something like this:

  1. if the user has a cookie named gdpr-allow-cookies with a value of yes, jump to point 4.
  2. display the banner to the user
  3. when the user hit the [Allow Cookies] button:
    • send to the user a new cookie named gdpr-allow-cookies, with a value of yes
    • hide the banner
  4. raise the cookieAllowed event of Google Tag Manager, with some code like this:
     <script>
     (window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []).push({"event": "cookieAllowed"});
     </script>
    

PS: for concrete5 users: I wrote a package that implements the above code.

Configuring Google Tag Manager

So far, we added the Google Tag Manager to our website, and the website triggers a cookieAllowed GTM event when users accepts (or already accepted) our privacy policy.

In GTM we then configure a new tag, that’s activated only when GTM receives the cookieAllowed event.

In order to do that, go to Triggers and hit the New button. In the trigger configuration box, choose Custom Event, and enter cookieAllowed in the Event name field.

When adding tags, simply choose this trigger in the Triggering box.

That’s it.

Google Analytics

A final note about adding a Google (Universal) Analitics tag. You have 2 options:

  1. enable the tag when GTM receives the cookieAllowed event
  2. always enable the tag, by setting the anonymizeIp value to true (since analytics will collect anonymized data, it doesn’t require that the user accepts it).