What is a cookie and what does it do?
A cookie refers to a small file that gets stored on the hard drive of consumers when they visit your website. The server-side application operating on your website generates this file containing the information. The server retains access to the file that the user received while browsing it.
Using the cookie, the website owner can identify the consumer accessing the portal. Cookies don’t reveal personal data but identify the consumer as the same entity that accessed the site before.
Therefore, cookie texts are considered to be a permission tool to store cookies in devices.
A survey carried out in 2021 in the UK revealed that 61% of the respondents are comfortable with accepting cookies on websites when they ask for their permission.
The chart shows the cookie acceptance rate in different countries. Poland leads the chart with 64% of its internet users accepting website cookies, while the US is at the bottom with just a 32% acceptance rate.
Regulatory challenges and cookie management
With regulatory organizations coming up with stringent norms governing website cookie usage, organizations encounter hurdles in cookie management. Although cookies are not harmful, they have earned a negative reputation for breaching privacy.
Different global bodies govern cookie management policies of business organizations. The CCPA is active in the US, while the ePrivacy Directive and GDPR govern consent and cookie usage. These bodies have recommended comprehensive guidelines to website owners that require them to adhere to regulations on cookie usage. This way, the regulatory bodies aim to prevent instances of privacy breaches arising through unsolicited cookie usage.
For instance, websites should adhere to the following cookie management guidelines as per GDPR.
- Before offering cookies, websites must obtain users’ consent through unambiguous words and specifically inform the users.
- Website visitors should have the option of opting out of cookies if they aren’t comfortable.
- Data subjects should have the choice to decline certain cookies and allow others.
- Even when a user fully rejects cookies, the person must continue to gain access to the platform.
This graph reveals the increasing size of the cookies market, demonstrating the potential of professional cookie management.
8 Effective cookie management tips to follow
Even if you have read all the amazing books about managing a business, practical strategies like cookie management should be done with perfection to keep the business running. The underlying guidelines will help website owners strategize their cookie management policies.
1. Use small cookies
Large cookie files often occupy sizable spaces on devices, slowing them down. Different types of programs enable systems to store cookies. While some internet users count on a single program for browsing or shopping online, there are multiple features on a single program in other cases.
Regardless of the nature of the software being used, make sure that the cookie storage size remains small. Focus on just a few programs for each device, like a PC, laptop, or smartphone. When you configure cookies properly, the software should offer adequate space. As a result, cookies won’t be a hurdle when users browse websites or carry out other tasks on their respective systems.
2. Block cookies until the user gives consent
As a part of your cookie management policy, block these cookies unless you obtain consent from website users. We understand that cookies enable your website to track the movement of traffic and remember the preferences of users. However, considering privacy concerns, the regulators require websites to provide cookies only after obtaining the users’ consent.
Configure your cookies in such a way, that a pop-up box appears before the users whenever they access the site. Once a user agrees to receive cookies, you can push them to their device.
3. Delete cookies that are no longer needed
Being the website owner or business head, the responsibility of using your consumer’s data lies on you. So, why not delete cookies when they have served their purpose? When you no longer need these cookies, simply delete them so that they don’t get stolen in cyberspace.
Effective cookie management requires you to work on privacy and security issues of your website. To maintain the security of your users’ data, delete cookies when you don’t need them.
Some browsers delete cookies automatically when users close the website. However, you need to manually delete this information from other browsers. Remember, information theft of users can tarnish your reputation as a business and lead to problems related to identity theft.
4. Don’t store any sensitive information in cookies
Cookie management involves securing the privacy of the information of your users. So, never store any sensitive data of your website visitors in cookies. Malware attacks and other online vulnerabilities lead to data leaks. Cookies can easily be stolen, leading to the misuse of users’ information by inappropriate channels.
Being a responsible business owner, try not to store sensitive information like names, passwords, or banking details of your users in cookies.
5. Use automated tools
Why not integrate automated cookie management tools to ensure convenience and safe use? With information overflow and different types of cookies making it increasingly challenging to manage them, it pays to count on automated software.
These tools automatically delete cookies when you no longer need them, thus securing user information. Besides, automated cookie management tools limit the number of users finding advertisements on your online platforms even when they don’t register themselves as users. This is possible when automated systems store their information securely in the system.
6. Set cookie expiration dates
Strategic cookie management tactics involve setting cookie expiration dates. This way, website owners can obtain more data from visitors. For instance, you can use this feature to find the duration of a visitor spending time on your website. This way, you can find out whether or not the person needs assistance with something. Your customer support team can come up with the necessary assistance, ensuring that the visitor finds whatever he or she has been seeking.
Besides, cookie expiration dates also help in providing signup forms to users. These forms appear before visitors only when they have spent a specified time on your website. Proper cookie management strategies thus enhance user experience on your website.
Remember, the penalty for failing to comply with cookie usage norms ranges between $750,000 and $800,000 in the UK. For seamless cookie management, make sure to obtain the users’ permission before placing cookies in their systems. Also, inform your visitors about the data you need, justifying why you need the same. Don’t forget to inform your users how they can control cookies or delete them from their PC or handset.
8. Keep the cookie notices up-to-date
Well, cookie management shouldn’t be as complicated as you might think. Neither is it too challenging to deploy effective cookie management policies. Simply use some of the latest cookie management tools to simplify the task! That’s how successful businesses have been managing cookies and using their visitor’s information.