Privacy & Consent

How to Estimate GDPR Impact on Your Google AdSense Earnings

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Now that 25th May is so close, every publisher who has left the whole GDPR-compliance thing completely untouched is asking one question: What do I lose by not complying?

Most Google AdSense users are expecting some revenue drop. Google itself is warning publishers about it. If you are still debating whether it’s worth your time and effort to invest in compliance, it’s time to get into specifics.

Consider these questions:

  • How many visitors did your site get from EU in the past month?
  • How many of those visitors saw personalized ads?

But more importantly, how much revenue will you lose if you can’t serve personalized ads to EU users anymore?

Sign in to your AdSense account and follow these instructions to find out.

  1. Go to Performance Reports
  2. From Report Type drop-down menu, select ‘Targeting Types
  3. Filter by Countries (select all EU member nations)
  4. Define a date range that works for you. We have last 30 days in the report below.

Here’s how it should pan out:

Zero-in on the table below the line graph / pie chart. This table shows you the estimated earnings from EU nations for each ad targeting type (i.e., personalized, contextual, placement, RON, etc.).

Post-GDPR, you absolutely cannot show personalized ads to European visitors if you don’t have their explicit consent, not without incurring a temporary or lifetime ban from Google Display Network. However, every other type of ad targeting is alright.

The way forward should be clear now. Here’s what to do if you:

Need Personalized Ads in EU

If the estimated earnings from personalized ads are too high to just let slide, start working immediately on obtaining EU-users’ consent. An IAB certified consent vendor (CMP) may be your best bet in the time left. However, Google may not support every IAB-certified CMP, so it’s best to double check this with your account representative.

Alternatively, you can use the tools Google has made available for consent collection:

  1. Apply to Funding Choices program to handle consent. Caveat: Limits ad tech partners to 12, including Google. (Help page link with application form)
  2. Create your own consent notices and make changes in AdSense tags. This is so the ad tags can pause and fire requests based on user’s choice of personalization. (Help Center link for code and implementation)

Related reading: Google’s GDPR Gameplan: What AdX and AdSense Publishers Can Do

Can Do Without Personalized Ads in EU:

If personalized ads served to EU audience makes a very small part of your overall earnings, asking for consent may not be worth the hassle. You can simply switch to serving Contextual (non-personalized) ads to all EEA visitors.

  1. Sign in to AdSense
  2. Click Allow & block ads > Content > All my sites > EU user consent.
  3. On the screen, select Non-Personalized Ads

Note that these settings can be applied now, but will take effect on May 25th. Publishers working on consent notices of their own should also note that making changes in GPT passback tags may keep some non-personalized ads from serving until that date.

That’s it. Get busy respecting EU user rights, and let’s compare notes after the 25th.