• Marketing
  • Privacy
  • UPCP

What Are Consent and Preference Management?


Consent management and preference management are closely aligned with each other. However, they are not the same. The terms are not interchangeable although the solutions to provide both are typically all-in-one platforms.

Consent and preference management are vital elements for promoting effective data privacy strategies that benefit both businesses and their customers.

What is consent management?

Consent management is a system that enables consumers to give or withdraw consent for the personal data they are willing to share with a company (including cookie consent). Consent management helps ensure compliance by informing consumers about a company’s data collection and usage practices and honoring those choices.

What is preference management?

Preference management is a system for allowing consumers to choose how companies communicate with them. Preference management keeps consumers in control of the methods and frequency of communications as well as keeping companies compliant with regulations. Additionally, preference management can also include preferences about content. For instance, consumers can notify companies of their preferences on how often and where to receive communications including newsletters, updates about new products and services and marketing emails.

What are the key differences between consent management and preference management?

Consent management enables consumers to opt-in or out of communications. Preference management lets consumers pick how often companies contact them, the specific content, and the methods of contact.

What impacts do consent management and preference management have on a business?

Consent and preference management can keep companies compliant with current and emerging data privacy regulations, reducing the chances of being fined.

Companies that practice consent and preference management can create brand trust and credibility by letting their customers have a say in if, how, and when their personal data can be used. Companies can also improve their marketing efforts when customers request particular information about products and services.

What are the requirements around consent management?

Consent management should address:

  • what data is being collected;
  • how it is being used;
  • who is collecting;
  • And when the data expires

This information must be easily provided to consumers. The ability to deny permission to collect information must also be offered. Companies must also prove that their customers have consented.

What do privacy laws and regulations say about consent and preference management?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are the cornerstones of data privacy guidelines. Companies must denote and record where and when consent is required. They must identify who they are, what type of data they wish to acquire, and why they want the data. They must also grant consumers the right to withdraw consent at any time and provide the methods to do so.

In addition to the principles set forth by the GDPR, the CCPA empowers consumers to deny companies from selling their data to a third party.

What industries are affected by consent and preference management?

Any industry that wants to collect consumer data must employ consent and preference management strategies.

For example, publishers, who make their money by selling advertising, must disclose should fully disclose how they are collecting personal information, how it will be used, all while giving readers the option to opt-out.

Another example concerns retail businesses. Companies might provide their customers with product updates. To facilitate this, companies can collect search and purchase histories, information that their customers might not want to be disclosed.

How is consent and preference management being enforced right now?

The GDPR primarily affects the European Union, although it influences privacy laws around the world. Member States appoint a Data Protection Authority that oversees enforcement. Since its inception, the GDPR has seen a rise in effective privacy practices. The overall sum of fines is just over 1.6 billion euros.

CCPA enforcement falls to the California Office of the Attorney General. If this trend holds for the United States, then each state will be responsible for enforcement as they enact regulations. Since it came into effect, compliance has increased.

What types of trends are there in consent and preference management?

Accuracy and efficiency drive data privacy demands. The biggest trend in consent and preference management is the use of automated platforms to help guarantee compliance. A consent and preference management platform like the one WireWheel offers lets companies comply with global privacy laws by allowing their website visitors to control their cookie preferences. Since many companies serve a worldwide community, they must maintain compliance with every regulation where they do business otherwise they can face fines and other disciplinary actions. Consent and preference management platforms can make this task easier to complete, saving companies from punishment.

What trends are there regarding user expectations around consent and preference management?

A recent survey found that 71% of consumers want to manage their data. Nearly the same percentage would share their information if they maintained control over it. The vast majority demand the right to delete their data whenever they want.

These statistics show that the most powerful trend among users is their desire to control their data how and when they see fit. Their information belongs to them and they want to exercise their rights to govern what happens to it.

What solutions exist right now for consent management?

An automated consent and preference management platform can increase transparency, a critical component that consumers seek. Compliance can be accurately maintained, limiting the gaps within many data privacy management systems, especially those that are operated by understaffed companies and undertrained professionals. Mistakes can create opportunities for breaches and lawsuits. As more states and countries add regulations to protect data, a consent management platform can keep companies up-to-date and scale functionality easier than a piecemeal system.

What solutions currently exist for preference management?

An automated platform to aid in preference management is probably the most significant solution businesses can use to ensure compliance and prove to consumers that they respect their privacy decisions.

Companies can use a preference management platform to collect preferences with newsletter and email sign-up forms, website pop-ups, and subscription enrollment windows. It is also possible to use the information consumers give to them to deliver personalized content that the consumers ask for. This alone can drive customer loyalty.

A platform to manage preferences can also provide you with insights around what products and services consumers are most interested in. This can aid marketing efforts in finding the best direction for a brand. Companies can be more confident about how they do business.


Consent and preference management are no longer optional aspects of today’s business world. Laws and regulations like GDPR and CCPA have made their implementation mandatory, and even more states and countries continue to implement their own. Solutions can help companies overcome their data privacy programs’ shortcomings. They ease the burden of compliance, foster consumer trust, and provide better customer service.

WireWheel's Universal Preference and Consent Platform: The Easiest Way to Manage Preferences and Consents

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