Cookies may have earned a bad reputation in recent years, but they’re not bad in themselves. In fact, cookies are essential to make the web work, and they can provide benefits to consumers and businesses alike.
In some cases, cookies enable a site to function correctly. Cookies can also retain user interface preferences or shopping cart contents. And, of course, cookies can provide ad-targeting or analytics services.
Cookies can bring clear benefits to your brand and your customers, but they come with certain responsibilities attached because of their implications for privacy and security.
Cookies are small data files used to communicate information about a user’s device or browser—and almost every website uses them.
Some cookies benefit the user of a website. For example, cookies can:
- Remember site preferences and form entries
- Keep a user logged in across multiple sessions
- Remember the playback position of a media file
These types of cookies make browsing the web a more fluid and seamless experience. Without such cookies, using the internet would be pretty frustrating.
Of course, brands can leverage these user benefits, too. By providing a more personalised and memorable user experience—for example, by offering users customisation options—cookies can help brands develop a relationship with their customers.
Advertising and Analytics cookies
Certain cookies primarily benefit the company or person operating a website (e.g. your company), such as cookies used for analytics and ad-targeting purposes.
These types of cookies have obvious benefits for the website operator. Analytics cookies, for example, can help you:
- Understand how visitors arrive at your website
- Test the effectiveness of changes to your website
- Detect errors and poor design
And again, these cookie functionalities can benefit both your business and its customers, by driving improvements in website functionality and user experience.
Ad-targeting cookies can improve conversion rates, driving ad revenue, and help promote your brand’s visibility across the web. And—you guessed it—some of these benefits can impact consumers, too—some of whom say that they prefer to receive more relevant ads.
Using cookies responsibly
Because of the potential impact on people’s online privacy and safety, using cookies is regulated by law.
The EU and U.K. place particularly strict rules on website operators, requiring them to earn opt-in consent for certain types of cookies. Other jurisdictions, including Canada, New Zealand, and California, also have rules on cookie transparency and choice.
- Determine which laws apply in your target markets
- Understand the rules around providing notice and earning consent
- Implement a way to provide users with appropriate privacy information and, if necessary, obtain their consent before you enable cookies
Using cookies responsibly helps you comply with the law, earn your users’ trust, and promote a respectable and professional brand image.
Cassie is a world-leading cookie consent and data management solution that enables organisations to meet cookie requirements across multiple jurisdictions. Get in touch to learn more about how Cassie can help your business harness the benefits of cookies with confidence.