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Google TCF v2 error codes – what they mean and how to troubleshoot

If you’re a Google Ads user and recently received an error alert from Google, you might be a bit confused as to what it means.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what the alerts mean and how you can solve them.

Last year, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) decided to transition their preliminary GDPR Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) from version 1 to a more comprehensive version 2. With this change, they were also able to expand their Global Vendor List (GVL) of ad companies and networks – with Google also deciding to come on board.

The overall aim of the TCF is to make it easier for both publishers and ad vendors to comply with laws like the GDPR (and CCPA) by helping ad vendors to recognize and pass user consent preferences along the advertising chain, seamlessly.

Since Google has now moved to accepting and passing TCF consent, some errors and alerts may occur for various reasons including, the correct consent not being passed, misconfiguration of your Consent Management Platform (CMP) and more.

Google has anticipated these errors and so, has extended a grace period, prepared a report with troubleshooting details, and will alert publishers should any such errors or conflicts occur in their configuration.

Google has classed the potential Errors into Grace Periods:

  • Grace period 0: Misconfiguration (Errors 2.1a-2.2c)
  • Grace period 1: TC string issues (Errors 3.1 -3.3)
  • Grace period 2: Consent must be re-obtained (Error 4.1)
  • Grace period 3: Global scope and out-of-band scope (Errors 5.1- 5.2)
  • No grace period: Ads continue serving: (Error 6.1)
  • No grace period: Google will apply mitigation (Errors 7.1- 7.9)

You can find full details of the Grace Period Errors here.

⚠️  If you’re on this page, you’ve likely received a TCFv2 error alert from Google and are trying to solve the issue.

Below we’ve listed the most common errors affecting users and how to fix them.

Fixes for Google TCF v2 Errors

Error Alert 1.1

Caused by user action. Error 1.1 occurs if the user doesn’t give consent to Google’s ads. This means that almost any website will get it at least some 1.1 errors. This error is perfectly normal as long as the number of occurrences is in line with the number of users choosing “Reject” on the cookie notice (if implemented), or disabling ad tracking manually through the TCF preferences. This error, therefore, should only cause concern if it’s abnormally high.

Error Alert 2.1

Error 2.1a is related to the configuration of the TCF on the site for the consent to personalize ads.

Solution

Upon investigating directly with Google, it has emerged that Google will not serve ads, not even non-personalized ads, if the user has not expressed a preference in regards to cookies or has not given consent. To solve this problem, you must only run the Google script when you have gained consent.

We support two main implementation methods for our Cookie Solution, illustrated here. If you work with Google ads and you’re getting this error, you must mandatorily block Google’s scripts prior to collecting consent using one of the methods listed here.

Alternatively, the error could be due to an incorrect cmpStatus sent by the CMP.

Error Alert 4.1

Error 4.1 occurs when the TC string being generated is using a version of the Global Vendor List (GVL) that doesn’t include Google, because it was collected pre-August 1st (i.e before Google joined the GVL).

Solution

Error 4.1a can be fixed by modifying your CMP configuration to ensure consent collected prior to August 1st is invalidated. In the Cookie Solution, this can be done by setting "invalidateConsentBefore": "2020-08-01" using this method.

Google Error Code 5.2

Google doesn’t allow to share consent with other sites, as consent has to be service-specific.

Solution

Our Cookie Solution no longer saves global consent, so there’s no need for any adjustments on your part.

Google Error Code 6.1

Consent served is v1 and not v2. This can happen when using AMP because of the cache (keep in mind that errors are per ad unit and are cumulative over the last 7 days).

Solution

Update your AMP pages in order to use the new consentRequired and checkConsentHref parameters as specified in our guide.

We understand that receiving an error message can be alarming, but in most cases, the issue can be easily solved using one of the methods above. We will, of course, keep this page updated with any further developments, other common errors, and relevant solutions.

As always, please reach out to us via our live chat or email if you need any further assistance or clarification. We’re happy to help.

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Cookie consent management for the ePrivacy, GDPR and CCPA

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