How to track the impact of cookie consent on website traffic in Google Analytics

If you are using a cookie consent popup (like the one below) to comply with GDPR, which allow a website user to accept or decline cookies, you would want to track the impact of this cookie consent on your website traffic, sales and conversions over time:

You can do that by following the steps below:

Step-1: Log in to your Google Analytics account and then navigate to the ‘Admin’ section.

Step-2: Click on the ‘Annotations’ link under the ‘View’ column:

Annotations are notes that you tie to a specific event in Google Analytics.

Step-3: Click on the ‘New Annotation’ button:

Step-4: Select the date on which you added the ‘cookie consent’ popup on your website and then add a small note, which can easily remind you about the event, in the near future:

Step:5: Click on the ‘Create Annotation’ button.

Once you clicked on this button, your new annotation will appear in all GA reports, which has got an over time graph.

You can learn more about creating and viewing annotation in a GA report, from the video below:

 

We are adding annotation to GA reports, in order to create a baseline for measuring website performance in terms of traffic, sales and other conversions.

Step-6: Look at your website usage data of the last one month, before you added cookie consent pop up on your website. Note down sessions, sales volume, ecommerce conversion rate and other metrics which are important to you.

Step-7: Look at your website data of the last one month, after you added cookie consent popup on your website. Note down sessions, sales volume, ecommerce conversion rate and other metrics which are important to you.

Step-8: Compare the data you collected in step-7 with the data you collected in step-8. Start this comparison by navigating to the ‘Channels’ report (under Acquisition > All Traffic):

Most likely, you will see decline in traffic, sales and other conversions.

This is mainly due to, losing the ability to correctly track website usage data for the visitors, who declined cookies to be placed on their device.

Most likely the traffic segment which will have biggest negative impact, is the traffic generated from EU countries.

So you would like to compare the performance of EU and non-EU traffic segments in GA.

Step-9: To do that, upload the following two custom segments in your GA property:

  1. Non-EU Traffic
  2. EU Traffic

Step-10: Apply these two segments to the ‘Channels’ report (under Acquisition > All Traffic):

From the screenshot above, we can conclude that 71% traffic is from non-eu countries and around 29% traffic is from eu countries.

You can get similar insight, by using these custom segments.

When you compare the data you collected in step-7 with the data you collected in step-8, while using these two custom segments, you can get detailed insight about the changes in website usage data:

For example, from the screenshot above, we can conclude that after adding the cookie consent pop-up on the website:

#1 There is a decline of 1.63% in website users from non-EU countries

#2 There is a decline of 8.16% in users from EU countries

You can do similar comparison for other metrics:

Note: You can hover your mouse over one of the custom segment, to get more information about the segment:

How to mitigate the effect of Cookie Consent Popup on website traffic

The smart way to mitigate the effect of cookie consent popup, is not to show it, to the Non EU website traffic.

But for that you would need to use some type of IP lookup solution (like IPinfo, IPData) through which you can identify visitors from the EU and show the cookie consent popup, only to them.

Most IP lookup solutions charge for per lookup and depending upon your website traffic, using a lookup solution can cost you, hundreds or even thousand of dollars a month.

But that’s the price you have to pay, if you want to mitigate the effect of cookie consent popup, on your website tracking.

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Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

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