There are now many actions on websites that require user consent thanks to legislation in different parts of the world. The location of your web servers, your backend system, and the country in which the visitor resides all influence exactly what you should seek consent for.
The requirement for consent to cookies when a visitor first arrives at a site is a much more complicated issue than you could imagine. If you are setting up your website for the first time, you might wonder whether that cookie consent popup can be managed by a plugin service rather than trying to organize it for yourself. You are right. There are such systems available.
Here is our list of the six best cookie consent tools:
- Osano Consent Manager EDITOR’S CHOICE This cloud-based consent management system includes a cookie scanner and a consent popup for GDPR, CCPA, and LGPD.
- Quantcast Choice A free consent and compliance service from a cloud platform that specializes in consumer sampling and modeling.
- Piwik Pro Consent Manager A consumer tracking and market analysis service that includes checks for compliance with GDPR, CCPA, and LGPD plus cookie consent for the tracking libraries that the service deploys.
- CookieYes A straightforward cookie consent system that can be integrated into all of the major content management systems.
- Cookiebot A hosted consent management platform that offers cookie consent banners in 46 languages.
- TrustArc Cookie Consent Manager A hosted cookie management service that automatically adapts to the location and browser settings of the site visitor.
Consent management platforms
There are now so many different permissions that websites need to get from users that a whole industry is rising to meet the function. These are Consent Management Platforms (CMPs). Some providers call their offering a consent management service or a consent management system. You have to be a little careful about abbreviations at this point because CMS also stands for content management systems, an example of which is WordPress.
CMP tools also include systems that allow site visitors to access information about the consent that they have given. So, this aspect of website management ends up becoming quite complicated – it isn’t just a requirement to show a popup with Yes and No buttons. CMP providers need to store user consent data and there are even laws that dictate where those consent records can be held. There is no bar to tracking user activity or sharing user information just as long as you get the right consent for those actions.
Cookie consent tools form part of the services offered by CMPs and they are implemented as APIs. That means that you just need to include a line of code at the top of your Web pages to get all of the cookie consent obligations taken care of. CMPs also host the processing of the cookie consent. As they are hosted services, you don’t have to worry about making space on your own servers or your cloud hosting system because that issue is usually taken care of and included in the CMP price.
The best cookie consent tools
When looking for cookie consent tools, we didn’t limit our search to services that just insert a cookie notification popup in your website. We expect cookie consent tools to provide much greater functionality.
What should you look for in cookie consent tools?
We reviewed the market for cookie consent services and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- A platform that includes the management of visitor consent records
- A system that can manage other consent issues, such as GDPR data storage location consent
- A managed service that offers an API to deliver all consent popups
- A dashboard that enables you to view all consent activities
- A service that can easily integrate with other Web platforms, such as hosting platforms or content management systems
- A free trial for a cost-free assessment period or a tool that is free to use
- Value for money and easy payment plans without any lock-in periods or upfront installation charges
Using our guidelines, we settled on a shortlist of suitable services to consider. There are actually many very good cookie consent systems available today. We believe that we have found the best of them.
You can read more about these services in the following sections.
Osano has been operating its consent management platform since 2016 and it has managed the consent for more than one billion cookies since its launch. The platform is a cloud-based system that scans your sites for relevant cookies and categorizes them. It then generates an appropriate consent form and gives you a code to embed in your Web pages. It covers the requirements for all of the online privacy legislation in the world, including the EU’s GDPR, California’s CCPA, and Brazil’s LGPD.
The platform offers a bundle of services and the exact contents of the system you get depend on the plan that you choose. There are four plans available and the cheapest of those is free to use. That’s the Developer plan, which isn’t really suitable for live websites because it is limited to placing a popup on 5,000 page loads. A commercial website would expect much more visitor volume. However, for testing, the services of that base plan would be very adequate.
The Developer plan only allows one user and only covers one domain. However, as it is free, you could easily just open a new account for each website. The plan indexes all of the cookies that your website code wants to download and optionally blocks them according to the user’s responses on the launch of the site in a browser.
For more throughput, you need to go for the Business plan. That covers two domains and will cater to 30,000 site visitors. The Business + plan covers four domains and will serve up to 50,000 visitors, and the Enterprise plan has no limit on the number of sites it will work on and there is also no limit on the number of visitors it will interact with.
Naturally, the higher plans include many more features than the free account. All paid plans include consent record-keeping, policy change detection, and lawsuit alerts. They also manage a CCPA opt-out, where applicable. The Enterprise plan adds corporate-level privacy and contractual guarantees, including an SLA guarantee and PII tracking for health sector businesses.
Osano isn’t just an automated system. The company has a legal team that not only adjusts the service of the platform whenever the law changes but it also supports clients. The system tracks the legal statuses of the businesses you collaborate with and provides full legal support for online privacy issues.
You can get a 30-day free trial of the Business or Business + plan and there is a demo available for the Enterprise plan.
Osano Consent Manager is our top pick for a cookie consent tool because it is easy to implement and also comes with a free version. This is a very comprehensive insurance policy against getting sued over getting privacy issues wrong. The higher the plan you take out, the stronger the legal guarantees and support the service gives you. The Osana Consent Manager has your back against any privacy issue raised anywhere in the world.
Get a 30-day free trial: osano.com/plans
Operating system: Cloud based
The Quantcast platform is a consumer behavioral analysis system. It also offers a consent and compliance management service, which is called Choice. This is a free service that checks on APIs and other systems associated with your site and identifies their GDPR and CCPA issues. The tool then compiles a suitable cookie consent popup to suit.
Quantcast Choice is a cloud-based service. You enter your site’s URL and whether it needs to comply with GDPR and/or CCPA. After filling out site scope details, the system generates a consent form. The service is also able to track the suitability of the partners that you work with and examines their reputation scores and use of data. This is to see whether bad practices in other companies could impact your own system reputation and expose you to litigation.
The Quantcast system records all of the consent-related actions that it performs on behalf of each client and those logs can be accessed in the account dashboard. The system console is based in the cloud and reachable through any standard Web browser from anywhere. This is a very easy system to work with and the fact that it is free to use makes it very enticing.
If you also want to work with the Quantcast consumer modeling service, that’s free as well. This system is called Quantcast Audience.
Piwik Pro is a market research platform that measures the behavior of Web users and the performance of sites. It offers compliance management for the data privacy laws of the EU, the USA, Brazil, China, and Russia. The platform also offers extra routines to meet the requirements of HIPAA.
The Consent Manager structures all activities related to cookie acceptance, including access to a system for users who want to change their settings.
The Customer Data Platform in the Piwik Pro system allows subscribers to see and analyze all of the consumer behavior statistics that were gathered by the cookies on your site. This information can be tied in with your CRM and there are also templates available for landing sites, request forms, and feedback questionnaires to gather more consumer actions and opinions to hone targeting.
The Consent Manager isn’t available as a separate service. Instead, you get a bundle of all modules and you have a choice of which global region your account will be hosted in. You can request a demo that lets you see how all of the tools fit together.
The major strength of CookieYes is its integration for all of the major content management systems. These include WordPress, Drupal, Magneto, Blogger, Joomla, and Wix. The cookie consent banners that this system will generate are formed to provide compliance with the requirements of GDPR.
The system isn’t only available to those using CMSs – you can also apply it to your custom websites. This is a flexible and easy-to-use service, but the downside of its simplicity is that it doesn’t have any of the consumer analysis tools or legal services integrated with some of the other systems on this list.
Users of CookieYes, fill out a form on the system dashboard with details about the site. The system then scans the site, compiles a cookie list, and then generates code for the consent banner and you cut and paste this into the pages of your site. Along with an appropriate popup, the code will also manage the actions that need to be performed after the user has selected an option in the form. That means that it can block cookies that the user hasn’t accepted.
Although this is a simple system, it is very successful. The service is used by more than a million websites, including those of CNBC, Reuters, and Hilton. You have the opportunity to customize your consent popup. The system also hosts a consent database of user responses.
CookieYes has four plans and the first of those is Free. That option is limited to just 5,000 access records per month. The paid plans offer many more services. The paid plans are all available for a 14-day free trial.
Cookiebot is a consent management platform that will scan your site for all cookies and trackers, making it easier to work out what forms of consent are needed from visitors to the website. That categorization is also performed automatically by Cookiebot. This system currently serves more than 400,000 websites and communicates with users in 46 languages.
The Cookiebot crew keeps up to date with all consent-related legal developments around the world. Any changes to the legal landscape cause the consent management platform’s detection and management processes to be updated. This is a cloud-based, hosted service, so you don’t have to worry that you have got the latest version of the system.
After scanning your site, the system presents you with a short questionnaire about your business. This results in the generation of a consent banner, which can be customized. The code for this is hosted so you just need to insert a few lines into your site. Those include routines to block cookies that haven’t been consented to.
The service maintains a consent database for you and allows access to a cloud-based dashboard that details system usage statistics and website user actions. This system is offered in four plans, the first of these being Free. This covers one domain with up to 100 pages. Cookiebot also offers a 1-month free trial of its paid plans.
The TrustArc Cookie Consent Manager is a cloud platform that implements compliance procedures for websites. It locates and identifies all of the cookies and trackers built into a website and then categorizes them. This system coordinates all of the actions that you need to take to stay compliant with regional privacy laws and avoid fines and litigation.
Once all cookies have been identified, TrustArc compiles the appropriate cookie consent banner for you. This system is hosted on the TrustArc site and called as an API within your site. The banner creation process is interactive and the resultant popup can be customized to include your business’s branding.
The TrustArc service doesn’t stop at banner generation. The system will implement actions based on the responses of users to the consent request. This may involve blocking some of the cookies on your site. The system also records each consent response for future reference.
The TrustArc package is completed by performance monitoring and compliance reporting services available in the system dashboard. You can experience TrustArc Cookie Consent Manager on a 14-day free trial.