The term cookies often conjures up thoughts of something altogether more appetising and appealing than website regulations.
That’s the heavy bit. The good news is that with a clear policy and a good grasp of yours and consumers’ rights, you should be able to get on with running your website and making it work hard for you. Ultimately, that’s why you invest so much time and money in it.
So what is a cookie? The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the UK’s independent authority on upholding information rights and the body responsible for enforcing Cookie Law – offers the following definition:
“A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is downloaded on to your computer when you visit a website. Cookies are used by many websites and can do a number of things, e.g. remembering your preferences, recording what you have put in your shopping basket, and counting the number of people looking at a website”. You can read more from the ICO by clicking here.
A new Cookie Law came into force in the UK in May 2011 as part of an EU directive. Here in the UK, these laws were aligned with the existing Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
Again – we’re no legal experts and such laws, as you’d imagine, are pretty comprehensive. However in a nutshell, the law demands that websites gain consent from visitors to store and/or retrieve information on an electronic device – such as a desktop, laptop, or mobile.
In the words of PrivacyPolicies.com, Cookie Law requires that:
While this may appear daunting, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, as we’ll discuss shortly, getting it right can create an added layer of trust between you and your customers and enhance reputation.
What’s equally important is to remember that, as with many laws, expectations in this regard are constantly evolving – so it really pays to keep up to date and ensure your website remains compliant.
For example, the introduction of GDPR in 2018 brought about the most significant data privacy changes in recent times; many of which relate to online/digital elements such as websites.
Further to this, the current EU directive outlined above is due to become an EU regulation at some point soon, most likely in 2020, having initially been drafted in 2017.
The shift from directive to regulation is significant as it will make cookie laws legally-binding, meaning that those falling foul could be hit with significant fines akin to GDPR.
Here at Koobr we’d like to share with you three Cookie Law-related observations we have discovered along the way:
Cookies can be beneficial to everyone. For the user, they can save time when browsing and save preferences. For the business, it’s a great way to gather data and analytics which can be crucial in understanding how your website is performing as well as customer behaviour.
Don’t make your cookies policy a tick-box exercise that you begrudgingly do because you have to. Make sure your pop-up message is prominent and easily digestible when a user enters your site. Businesses should be confident of their message and their policy and, ultimately their commitment to the user – use as little jargon as possible and keep things simple.
None of us are experts in everything. You’re great at what you do but website development, maximisation and compliance might not necessarily be things you have great experience in – and let’s be honest, not all businesses have the luxury of being able to call on in-house departments/staff specialising in these areas.
However, they are crucial areas so if in doubt, seek advice and take advantage of those who live and breathe this area of business every day – as many of our customers have done with us.
At Koobr we excel in making your business look good, your services appealing and ensuring you’re taking full advantage of the marketing mix and all the tools and tactics available to you.
But we’re also dab-hands at creating and building websites that look great with good functionality but are also, critically, compliant in a world of increasing cyber complexities and stringent regulations such as GDPR and Cookie Law.
Get in touch and tell us all about it.