Google Ads troubleshooting

Google Ads troubleshooting

Written by NelsonLast update 1 month ago

This article provides possible problems and solutions to troubleshoot issues related to Google Ads and Google Consent Mode.

Note, that Google is updating from Google Consent Mode to Google Consent Mode v2. If you want to continue using Google Ads for your advertising in the EEA markets, you need to use a Cookie Banner integrated with Google Consent Mode v2 by March 2024.

I. Checklist for the correct implementation of Google Ads and Google Consent Mode

See the following checklist to be sure that you have chosen the right settings:

  1. Google Consent Mode is enabled in settings.
    See the guide about how to enable Google Consent Mode.

  2. CookieScript is installed in GTM using the latest template from gallery.
    See the guide about how to update the GTM template.

  3. CookieScript trigger is set to Consent Initialization (AND no other tags in that trigger).
    Triggering CookieScript tag on consent initialization is crucial for other tags that use consent mode to work. If CookieScript fires too late, none of those other tags will see the default consent state and will not work.

  4. GA trigger is set to Initialization
    The right GA trigger should look like this:

    The common mistake is the wrong GA trigger selected like in this example:

  5. Clear browser Cache

  6. Use preview mode to see how it works. Link to debugger info.

Also, before looking for troubleshooting, make sure to follow these instructions for Google Ads implementation:

  • Turn on auto-tagging in all your Google Ads accounts.

  • If you use any click-trackers in your tracking URLs, or server-side redirects on your site, make sure they pass on the Google click identifier to your landing pages.

  • If your conversion page is on a different domain than your landing page, use the gtag.js domain linker to pass the Google click identifier to the conversion page.

  • Don’t fire your tags from within an iFrame. For example, within another tracking tag like Floodlight.

  • Use site-wide tags to properly measure your Google Ads performance. Watch the following video to learn how and why to use side-wide tags, how to choose the right solution, and how to correctly implement different tags such as Google Tag Manager, Google tag, and Google Analytics.

You may also want to read the following guides:

Let’s see other Google Ads troubleshooting cases.

II. Consent Mode is not detected on some of your pages

Cause: The page doesn't have a Google tag/ conversion linker tag, or it may have a legacy AdWords Conversion Tracking (AWCT) tag.

Solution: Implement the Google tag/conversion linker tag on the page.

Also, check in Tag Assistant for legacy AWCT tags and replace them. You can check for legacy AWCT tags like in the following example.

Cause: The page doesn't have the consent state set for ad_storage.

Solution: Verify this in Tag Assistant by selecting the page and look at the Consent tab to see if ad_storage has a status under Page Consent State. If the consent state for ad_storage is missing/never set the Consent tab will be blank.

Blank Consent tab with no consent state set will look like this:

Page Consent State with some consent state set but not for ad_storage will look like this:

Page Consent State with consent state assigned for ad_storage should look like this:

Solution: Deploy Consent Mode on the page. See Google Consent Mode Implementation Instructions for more information.

Cause: If the consent state is present at the page level, but consent states have been set too late (for example, after the Ads tags fired), this can also result in Consent Mode not being detected on your pages.

The Consent tab will show the "A tag read consent state before a default was set" error if this is the case:

Solution: For the right Google Tag Manager implementation, find the event that triggers the Google Ads conversion linker tag (usually the Container Loaded event) and make sure any consent-writing tags fire before this trigger. It is recommended that the Consent Initialization trigger be used for consent-writing tags.

Once updated, check if the consent states are present in the Container Loaded event:

If you are using a gtag implementation, find the code that calls the API gtag('config', 'AW-xxxx') and make sure the gtag('consent', 'default') or gtag('consent', 'update') commands fire before any gtag('config') commands. Once updated, check if the consent states are present in the Config event.

III. Consent rate is low

Cause: The consent update did not occur or didn't pass the correct states even if the user granted consent in the banner.

To verify this, grant consent in the banner and check if the updated consent state is set in Tag Assistant and reflects your choice.

Solution: make sure the consent update command fires and passes the correct values when a user grants/denies consent.

Cause: consent state not captured in consent pings solution.

Solution: Make sure you have set the default and update consent calls in the right order.

Cause: Users from specific regions get a denied default consent state but never see a consent banner to grant or deny consent.

This can occur for users from specific regions that don’t require a consent banner when a non-regio specific denied default consent state has been deployed, resulting in a consent rate of 0 for those users. To verify if this is happening, simulate a user from the specific region where the consent rate is low. If this is an issue the default consent state will be set, no update state will be set, and no banner will appear.

Solution: Align the consent banner and consent default command to target the same regions (the regions where consent is required). Don't leave any regions that never see a consent banner with a denied default consent state.

IV. Google Ads are not working after implementing a cookie banner

Cause: Your Google Ads script is not implemented correctly

Solution: First, if you implemented your cookie banner using a GTM tag template, the Google Ads script should also be implemented using a GTM tag template. Second, make sure that you use a trigger, which sets the Google Ads script after the trigger Consent initialization. If you implemented your cookie banner using a GTM tag template, and implemented the Ads script manually, your Ads script will not work.

If you implemented your cookie banner manually, implement the Google Ads script manually as well. Just make sure that your cookie banner script loads first, and only then- the Google Ads script.

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