An overview of Consent Management Platforms

September 9, 2021
An overview of Consent Management Platforms

Since the emergence of data privacy laws and regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, businesses have been looking for solutions to efficiently manage getting consent to collect personal data when users visit a brand’s digital properties. Some brands and publishers are also looking to CMPs to help syndicate user preferences for opt-out privacy regimes like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). 

Companies have tried everything to keep up with the evolving regulations and their overlapping requirements. Some have even gone down the route of building far their own home-grown solutions, often resulting in high costs, bad user experience, and incomplete compliance. 

To avoid the headaches that come with manually managing the complex process of informing visitors about data processing and obtaining their consent, many businesses are turning to third-party providers known as Consent Management Platforms.

In short, a consent management platform (CMP) is a tool that manages collecting and syndicating user consent to process their personal information via cookies and trackers. It can support websites with maintaining compliance with data privacy regulations like GDPR and the IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent framework on websites, apps, and OTT/CTV devices. A CMP can be used by many key players in the digital ecosystem, including:

  • Publishers
  • Marketers
  • Legal Teams
  • Agencies

At a high level, a CMP automatically displays a privacy message in the form of consent banners on digital properties that allows users to consent to having their data collected and processed. 

It provides users with the option to set their consent preferences and includes information for users who wish to learn more about the site’s data collection and user practices. It captures consumer preferences in a compliant consent cookie to share with approved partners and enables a business to access an audit log that tracks user consent. 

By using a CMP, businesses are taking the guesswork out of keeping up with existing and emerging data privacy regulations while ensuring they are delivering the best possible experience for their users. 

Though consent management solutions have been more widely adopted in the European Union to fulfill legal obligations, it’s also increasingly being adopted with companies outside the EU who want to capture European visitor consent or use it to manage opt-out preferences for CCPA. Even beyond compliance, a CMP is a strong signal of a business’ commitment to responsible digital citizenship and data ethics across all jurisdictions, regardless of the technicalities of the law. It ensures that your business is behaving safely, responsibly, and helps maintain the integrity of the internet. Furthermore, for ad-supported websites or applications, it ensures that compliant customer data can be used for monetization.

Seven questions to ask when deciding on the right CMP for your business

Finding the right CMP for your business can be a challenging task with many different players in the space. However, there are six key questions that can help you find the CMP that is flexible, customizable, and always up-to-date on compliance.

  1. Does the CMP allow for the creation of personalized user journeys characterized by clarity, ease of use, as well as higher opt-in rates? 
  2. Does the CMP work across multiple properties and environments, including browser, Google AMP pages, mobile apps, and OTT?
  3. Is it compatible with the IAB’s frameworks? 
  4. How easy is it to create consent and preference signals for technology partners who don’t participate in an existing industry framework?
  5. Does it offer out-of-the-box A/B testing?
  6. Are there reporting and analytics available on the platform? What types of data about consent rates does the CMP provide?
  7. Does it include customization to build consent messages that seamlessly blend in with your brand?

If you’re ready to start your search for a Consent Management Platform, we can help! Download our free RFP template to help you evaluate providers and find the best solution for your business.

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