The pros and cons of cookies for B2B websites
Like anything in the world of online data, there are advantages and disadvantages to using cookies on your site.
Let’s start with the pros:
- Certain cookies are necessary to websites and help them perform vital functions.
- They store hordes of valuable data — this can benefit your business and help you provide a better and more relevant on-site experiencefor your visitors.
- For the most part, cookies can be seen transparently and deleted with ease.
Now, the cons:
- Large quantities of data stored within cookies means they may host personal data, which could enable businesses to identify personal information without visitor consent.
- In turn, this could mean that, in some circumstances, cookies are subject to GDPR— which defines consent and the various grounds for processing personal data.
- Some consumers are unhappy with the level of highly-targeted advertising content they are displayed through cookies.
It’s entirely up to your business as to which kinds of cookies you decide to use on your site — ensuring you follow appropriate regulations at all times.
What does EU legislation say about cookies?
The legislation surrounding cookie use is split between GDPR and the ePrivacy directive — which is due to be replaced by the ePrivacy Regulation, although no date is currently confirmed. It can get a little confusing, especially as the UK expects to see some changes to the regulations in the future. There are several types of cookies and each of them play a different role within your business site. Let’s explore some of the most prevalent ones, and how they sit within GDPR and the ePrivacy directive. According to GDPR.eu — a resource for those researching GDPR — they can be broken down into three categories as follows.
1) Duration cookies
- Session cookies — expire as soon as a visitor’s ‘session’ ends.
- Persistent cookies —remain on your hard drive until they expire or are erased
2) Purpose cookies
- Strictly necessary cookies —essential to website function and features, i.e. the ability to store items in an online shopping basket. Usually first-party. No user consent required, but their purpose should be explained.
- Preference cookies— enable your site to remember visitors’ past choices, such as language preference and login details
- Statistics cookies — collect anonymous and unidentifiable visitor behavior insight, such as page visits and link clicks with an aim to improve website functions
- Marketing cookies — track online activity to increase relevance of advert content and can share information with other organizations
3) Provenance cookies
- First-party cookies— placed onto a visitor’s device directly from your website
- Third-party cookies — placed onto a visitor’s device by an advertiser or analytics tool
Where does cookie consent come in?
According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the basic rules are: “tell people the cookies are there; explain what the cookies are doing and why; and get the person’s consent to store a cookie on their device.”
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