Cookie Consent - Most Popular Tools in 2021

Thomas Köhler

Collecting user data has grown into a billion-dollar industry, and like most businesses of a similar size, is regulated to a certain degree. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates that the operators and owners of websites inform their visitors about what sort of tracking they will be subject to, offering them an opportunity to opt out. Essentially, user data can only be collected with explicit permission with failure to do so resulting in hefty fines, such as the upwards of $500 million one being considered against Amazon

Cookie consent tools help ensure that your website conforms to the EU's GDPR as well as similar regulations enforced in other jurisdictions. Generally, this is done through a cookie banner or pop-up asking visitors to consent to the collection and usage of their data. In this way, site owners can avoid infractions or fines. However, which cookie consent tool is the best?

Statistics – Cookie Consent Solutions in 2021

We assessed more than 5 million of the most visited websites in order to determine which cookie consent solutions they use. Below, we'll introduce you to our Top 5.

1.

Osano

Osano describes itself as "the most popular solution to cookie laws." At least as far as our own metrics are concerned, this is true, as it was found on nearly 1/3 of the 5 million sites from our sample using a cookie compliance tool. Among these are some well-known companies like Bosch, Daimler, and SAP, however, Osano is also offered in a free and, perhaps, more importantly, open-source version. 

Therefore, it's better to speak of Osano's applications: Developers and users can take advantage of the free, open-source cookie consent tool and create their own solution. At the same time, a paid cookie consent tool is also offered in the form of Osano Hosted Edition.

Osano's dashboard.

For paying subscribers, a selection of different rates are offered which vary depending on the number of monthly website users, domains, and other parameters. Osano advertises its conformity to the EU's GDPR, offering a GDPR representative for those who pay more. Concretely, this means that Osano acts as your physical representative in Europe, should your business not have a European presence. 

Osano can be added to any website using JavaScript. This means that all that's needed to meet the privacy requirements for a number of countries is the insertion of a snippet of code.

The service automatically adjusts to the site visitor's language, opening a localized cookie pop-up. This makes Osano particularly interesting for businesses that operate around the world, giving it an advantage over some of the other tools we looked at.

Osano uses blockchain in order to save user consent settings. As such, consent can't be spoofed, while records are also maintained for site owners and operators should complaints ever be filed.

Customizable open-source version

Easily added via JavaScript

Uses blockchain

Fairly expensive

2.

Quantcast Choice

Like Osano, Quantcast is headquartered in the US. The provider offers all of the classic features of a cookie consent tool and conforms to the GDPR. Beyond that, Osano also meets the California Consumer Privacy Act's (CCPA) requirements. This regulates how companies handle the data of citizens of California, such as requiring their explicit permission for the sale of their data to third parties, and the right to request deletion of this data. 

Quantcast also meets the European Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) 2.0 standards, which makes it easier for publishers, website operators, and advertisers to display GDPR-compliant ads. Should the so-called TC string not be present (i.e., the website doesn't use a TCF-certified cookie consent tool), there's no guarantee that the ads in question are GDPR-compliant.

In its FAQs, Quantcast Choice goes into more detail about what is included in TCF 2.0. Beyond that, the service's management portal allows users to monitor their consent rate, as well as assess whether the tool is up-to-date and conforming to the newest data privacy settings. If necessary, users can also make changes.

Quantcast Choice's clearly arranged management portal makes it easy to gain an overview of consent on your website.

In addition to this central portal, Quantcast Choice also allows users to apply the tool across an entire domain with just a few lines of code, opening a consent pop-up on every page. As a result, users can gain greater insight into their site's visitors in real-time.

Quantcast Choice's second place is not disputed, with it being one of the most popular cookie consent tools out there. There also isn't much separating it from Osano, and as a managed service, it enjoys the advantage of being completely free

Free

Provides a clear platform

Easily integrated onto any website or domain

No option to automate language to automatically change based on a user's location

3.

OneTrust

OneTrust might be based in Atlanta, but the service also has an EU presence thanks to its offices in Munich and Paris. Describing itself as the "platform to build trust", it offers a number of data protection and security solutions alongside its cookie consent tool. All of these are easily combined and work well with one another.

OneTrust Cookie Consent meets all requirements of the GDPR, the CCPA, and the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG). Beyond that, users can ensure conformity with the Brazilian Data Protection Act (LGPD) if desired. Like Osano and Quantcast Choice, OneTrust complies with TCF 2.0.

In order to achieve all of this, OneTrust Cookie Consent blocks all trackers until a site visitor explicitly agrees to allow them. With this feature, known as auto-blocking, it's also possible to block specific trackers, however, you'll need some coding knowledge to do this.

OneTrust has a user-friendly interface. Thanks to its Cookiepedia database, it's possible to read up on cookies and trackers in easy to understand language

OneTrust impresses thanks to its user-friendly interface.

The tool also intuitively handles how cookie pop-ups are displayed on your website, allowing you to select from numerous templates and adjust them to your preferences. These will be automatically displayed in the site visitor's language, and optimized for their interface, to meet local data protection regulations.

Third place is nothing to shake a stick at, affording OneTrust, like Osano and Quantcast, status as one of the most popular cookie consent tools. At least in part, this is because the tool is completely free for the first domain.

Easy to understand and use

Free for the first domain

Offers plenty of customization options

Unclear pricing structure

4.

Cookiebot

The first purely European provider on our list is Cookiebot, offered by Cybot, a Danish company. Cookiebot emphasizes its GDPR, CCPA, and ePrivacy conformity. Anyone can test whether their website meets the requirements of these on its landing page. As might be expected, Cookiebot offers all of the features expected of a cookie consent tool: a cookie banner that blocks cookies until users have consented to them.

Cookiebot offers all of the standard features expected from a cookie consent tool.

Owing to its European roots, Cookiebot ensures, first and foremost, that its users conform to the GDPR. Beyond that, the tool comes with a cookie database in which users can manage cookies. Automatically adjusting the language in which the cookie banner is displayed to that of the visitor using geo-data, can also be configured.

Since 2020, Cookiebot has met the requirements of TCF 2.0, while also offering users the ability to completely block certain cookies on their website. Integrating the service is fairly easy: All you'll have to do is insert two lines of JavaScript code on your domain.

Even though it's "only" fourth in terms of popularity, Cookiebot is still an excellent option, and like OneTrust, free for the first domain. After that, users will have to pay between $10 to $41 per month.

Caters to European users

Easy to integrate

Competitively priced

Offers few additional features

5.

Iubenda

Iubenda, an Italian company, rounds out our list of the Top 5 most popular cookie consent tools. The service can be configured to provide GDPR, CCPA, and LGPD compliance, blocking all cookies before users consent to them. In addition, TCF 2.0 is also integrated.

With its visually appealing interface, Iubenda can be easily handled, affording its users plenty of options to make sure that the cookie banner that displays on their site meets their requirements. This banner can be displayed in eight different languages, however, automatically adjusting this to the visitor's location or even certain regions isn't possible. 

The tool's developers emphasize their quick reactivity to legal changes, and provision of notifications outlining these to users. In addition to a cookie consent tool, the provider also offers a Terms & Conditions generator, as well as a Privacy Policy Generator, both of which guarantees that users are on legal terra firma.

Iubenda rounded out our list of the Top 5 most popular cookie consent tools.

Iubenda costs $9 per month for business users and $29 per year for personal users. If desired, it's also possible to bundle additional Iubenda tools.

Provides a complete package to ensure a website's legal conformity

Offers plenty of customization options

Easy to use generators for Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies

Unclear pricing structure

Overall Result

Osano and Quantcast Choice were the two most frequently used cookie consent solutions in our sample, thanks, in no small part, to their intuitive dashboards, ease of use, as well as the fact that they are offered open-source (Osano) or as managed services (Quantcast Choice). However, the other services aren't far off the mark: So far as user-friendliness, additional features, and price are concerned, there isn't all that much separating any of the tools we looked at.

Conclusion

Integrating the right cookie consent tool into your domain helps to ensure your website's legal footing is sound. Should you not request your visitors' consent before using trackers and cookies, you can be in for a hefty fine.

Over the past few years, the cookie consent tool market has opened up, becoming more difficult to gain a clear overview of as a result. Our comparison has briefly shown the strengths and weaknesses of the Top 5 most popular such tools, allowing you to weigh the advantages or disadvantages of each in determining what's best for your site.

FAQs

What is the most popular cookie consent tool?
Osano took first place in our ranking of the Top 5 most popular cookie consent tools. We were able to identify Osano on around one-third of all pages from our sample (the 5 million most visited websites).

Which cookie consent tool is right for me?
Selecting the right cookie consent tool depends on your requirements and needs. All of the solutions we looked at differ in terms of the additional features they provide, their user-friendliness, and ultimately, their price. As a result, selecting the right tool depends on how many domains and sub-pages you have, what features you'd like to have access to, and which parts of the world visitors to your site are coming from.

Which cookie consent tool is a specific website using?
EXPERTE.com's Technology Check makes it easy to find out exactly which cookie consent tool (or other technology) a specific website is using.

Author: Thomas Köhler
Thomas Köhler studied German and history and is currently pursuing a master's degree in public history at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. As a freelance author, he writes mainly about data protection, IT security and software.
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