Consent as a content component

Pen picture of Chris Cooper, author of Consent as a content component

Consent has to be a component of web service delivery in the world of CDN (Content Delivery Network)

The new reality

With data commissioners now seeking fines for poor data protection practice, the old way of indiscriminately sharing user data is over. The law gives the user more control and the old business model relying on the targeting of adverts is about to change.

The new reality is that a brand will often need to have consent to use an individual’s details to target an advert at them. Those companies that excel at managing consent will be the winners.

This is because a consented-to engagement is a much more valuable lead. It demonstrates an engaged user, itching to become a customer. Not as is commonly the case today, a harangued and hassled user, plagued by adverts long after a purchase has been made.

Rather than today’s scenario where the intermediaries sat in the middle of the conversation between brand and customer consider themselves king, the brand that owns this consent is now king.

A customer is more likely to give a brand their consent rather than an unknown entity. The brand has a reputation to protect and will behave with that reputation in mind - more likely to conform to customer expectation. The intermediaries whole purpose is to push the unconsented-to personal data to the highest bidder.

happy woman looking at her phone whilst shoppingBelieve me, what it boils down to is trust - Do I believe as a consumer that I trust your brand with my personal data?

This is a personal decision and different people will have different thresholds as to what personal data they will share and when. However, trust is fickle. It takes time to build but can be evaporated in seconds.

What can be a better way of proving brand trust than when a user says “Yes, here is my consent, for now, to have a digital advert displayed. But when I remove this consent, the advert stops”. And the brand then ensures this happens.

It is not the fact that people will turn off the advert and brand engagement. The marketers will continue to make sure customers want to be part of your world. What people want, and are now given by law, is choice and control.

The role of CDN

When we visit a web page it is usually built in front of our eyes by a series of background chats to a variety of services. Some benign, some positive, some we should know more about and others we should be raising our eyebrows at.

What needs to happen within this process is that the user’s consent is checked to enable the right content to be displayed. How though to do this?

Simple, access a consent service that holds the consent. This service will be able to then inform the digital advertiser as to what content can be displayed. The service needs to be fast, reliable and secure.

In effect, the service should be seen as just another component of the world of CDN.

In the new reality when a user visits a website, the adverts they see should be consented to. How though do we go about this? Who owns this consented to engagement? The publisher, the brand or the one serving the ad?

If we assume the ad is owned by a brand and the brand is looking for the engagement of a user, then the brand owns the consent. If the publisher has a contract to deliver content to the end-user, then the consent is owned by the publisher, who can then ask for permission to deliver an advert to 3rd parties. The user can then agree on a case by case basis.

What is the role of the intermediary? Well, they have a new role, matching consented-to content to actual delivery. They can become the aggregators of consent and trusted brands in their own right.

The first part is to capture the user’s consent. The second is to then make use of this consent. This is where consent management tools take centre stage. They are usually deployed within the customer sign up form, or as a pop-up on the website. Crucially, the best tools allow this to happen at the point of interaction with the user - ensuring that there is the very best chance of consent being granted.

A consent management tool creates a standards-based consent receipt. It allows both the user and the digital advertising partner access to this consent receipt. The process is much more transparent leading to increased trust between the user, the brand and the advertising partner.

You can also track how your user engagement stats change using a new set of statistics -

  • Number & growth of new consent receipts
  • The conversion rate of consents to sales
  • Retention of consent over time

Arguably these are more useful indicators of brand health than our current obsession with click rates. Having a consent receipt will be a better indicator of brand engagement and brand trust.

So now the consent receipt is there to be used, instruct your digital advertising partner to use the consent receipt as the basis for what they serve up in terms of adverts.

Previously it was pay-per-click. Now it is pay-per-consent. The beauty of consent management is that the consent service owner purchases a large pool of consents for exactly this purpose. To encourage that conversation between customer and brand whilst recognising that the customer is in control.

Now when the web page is served to the end-user, the digital advert provider goes to the consent management service, checks the consent, and serves the advert depending on the result. Just like the other CDN based services.

Female using Consentua on a phone, agreeing to the use of her data

Next Step

If you want to know more, would like a demo of our Consentua consent management tool or just want a discussion on promoting your brand in a consented to fashion, then please get in touch at or email us at [email protected]

Consentua withdraws from the IAB framework

London, UK. 25th June 2019. The makers of Consentua, the world leading consent management platform have decided not to renew their subscription to the International Advertising Bureau on July 1st 2019, as they feel the ethos of the IAB consent framework cannot be reconciled with the aims of the Consentua produc - Making it easy to do the right thing, by helping data controllers to be trustworthy and supporting individuals to have choice and control.

Richard Gomer, Consentua, Product Director said, “At the heart of our consent and preference management platform are the key principles of trust, control, and regulatory compliance. We make it easier for data controllers to process data Lawfully, Fairly and Transparently, and we give choice and control to data subjects. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently confirmed that the $200bn ad tech industry buy and sell adverts in real time auctions in a way that is illegal, and contrary to what we believe is sustainable, responsible, or ethical.”

The decision to not renew has been made easier by the ICO’s finding that the AdTech industry’s current use of personal data is not legal.

Chris Cooper, Consentua, Chief Technology Officer further added, “The saving grace, is our platform has been designed to be seamlessly deployed and integrated in to any website or mobile app and has never been constrained to the IAB’s view of the world. We think that consent is just one element of many that goes in to delivering positive and trustworthy customer experiences. For that reason and to prepare for the future, we embrace and contribute to emerging standards, like the Kantara Initiative Consent Receipt Specification.

Standards are important, as they ensure you strive for excellence and embed interoperability into your design thinking. So, whilst we leave the IAB TCF, we are still standards compliant as we adopt fully the Kantara Consent Receipt Specification.”

About Consentua

Consentua is the world leading consent management platform - making it easy to do the right thing, helping data controllers to be trustworthy and supporting individuals to have choice and control.

Partially funded by InnovateUK, Consentua is part of the KnowNow Information product portfolio and was conceptualised back in 2015 as part of the Cognicity Challenge - Canary Wharf Group’s Smart City Accelerator. The smart city app caught the audience’s imagination by giving people choice and control over the sharing of their personal data.