It’s crunch time!
Cookies have long worked unseen in the background, facilitating B2B marketing by underpinning useful tools such as Analytics, Conversion tracking, Shopping Carts, Remarketing and Personalisation – improving conversion rates and enhancing the customer experience. They’re small files, downloaded to the end-user’s browser allowing a website to recognise that user’s device when he or she returns. Now, thanks to legal changes, cookies are under the spotlight.
Visitors to your site receive cookies every time they visit. The problem is that few internet users are aware of this fact, and in May 2011 the UK enacted an EU directive that every visitor must receive clear information about what cookies are in use and sites must obtain explicit consent before using them. On 26th May 2012 the UK’s 12 month grace period ended and the ICO has pledged that those adopting a “wait and see” approach are at most risk of enforcement action.
Sites that are low-traffic, using cookies for insensitive information such as Analytics are more likely to slip under the ICO’s radar (initially!) But higher profile sites run the risk of the cost, not least the embarrassment that prosecution brings.
The ICO’s latest advice is that from May 26th 2012, ‘all UK websites must offer users opt-in consent tools to allow cookies that pass information about browsing activities to 3rd parties.’
1. first obtained the user’s consent, and
2. provided clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the cookies
Take a look at the ICO’s guide to see exactly how the cookie crumbles.
And the penalty for non-compliance? According to James Ball’s article ‘How will the new law on cookies affect internet browsing?’ (www.guardian.co.uk) ‘Sites which do not comply with the new rules face fines of up to £500,000, levied by the information commissioner’.
For marketing managers, the personal repercussions could be far-reaching. Besides embarrassment, damaging your company’s reputation could severely limit your career prospects. And wouldn’t the prospect of disciplinary proceedings for breach of privacy just take the biscuit?
Don’t be cookie complacent…
AdStorm has the solution
Contact AdStorm for help with cookie compliance, or any aspect of making the web work for you.