Navigating Compliance: Tag Inspector’s Latest Feature for Opt-Out Markets

Navigating Compliance: Tag Inspector's Latest Feature for Opt-Out Markets
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

You may have noticed a new setting that can be applied to your scans: “Exclude Tags Found Before Consent Selection?” You might be wondering, “what miracle of Tag Governance is this achieving?” We are excited to share the details!

Opt-Out Markets Have Different Tag Behavior

You might have noticed a rapid increase in U.S. state privacy regulations, and the consequence of that is users have the right to opt out of certain activities on a state-by-state basis. The most common thread among them is the right to opt out of “targeted advertising.” This is the opposite of our friends in the GDPR/ePrivacy regions of the world in which users must opt in before any cookies can be set or third-party tags executed. 

So what happens in the United States, which is different? You have every right to load and execute all tags before the user decides to opt out. (Note that HIPPA-covered entities and those orgs which deal in “sensitive” personal information in the United States might have to abide differently and require opt in, but that’s a whole other story.) So what does this mean from a Tag Inspector perspective?

Tag Inspector Emulates Consent

In case you are new to us, Tag Inspector is a tag monitoring and tag governance platform. We can scan websites and report back on the tag’s behavior. We also can emulate consent selections of users from various regions of interest. Let’s take California for example. If you want to see what tags loaded and data was collected for a user from California, who is denying “sale/share of personal information”, this is possible. We will report back all the tags loaded, data collected, cookies set, and a whole lot more!

Here is the “gotcha” moment: since California is an opt-out market, when Tag Inspector scans the site, on the first page, ALL tags load. This is the correct and true behavior of the website, since the Californian user is opted in before Tag Inspector has had a chance ‌to make the opt-out selection. Looking at the tags found above, you may find a few bad actors in the list per legal compliance for that region. In the case above, Facebook Pixel might not normally be appropriate if the Californian user is asking to opt out of “cross-context behavioral advertising.” 

This natural behavior of sites in opt-out markets is expected; Tag Inspector is telling you what really happened. Reporting on the “first page load tags” can cause confusion if you are only looking to evaluate tags that collect data when the user is opted out.

The New Feature Saves the Day 

Applying “Exclude Tags Found Before Consent Selection” to your scan settings does exactly what it sounds like. Tag Inspector will ignore all tags loaded before ‌consent selection, giving you a clean list of tags firing for users who have made the choice to opt out. This helps your legal team, tag management and CMP specialists, evaluate with more specificity what is happening under the opt-out condition of a user from a specific region of relevance. 

Keep in mind this setting doesn’t always make sense to apply. You may want that full list of tags, including the first page load. In GDPR/ePrivacy regions, you wouldn’t ever want to exclude tags loading before consent selection. In those markets, no cookies should be set without consent.

For the new world purposes of U.S. regulations and opt-out states, this feature gives you the flexibility to see more clearly what you are hoping to gain from the scan.

Happy scanning!

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Originally Published On December 6, 2023
December 6, 2023