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Tips when requesting cookie consent from users

Tracking how visitors use a website is a high priority for website owners, so obtaining consent should be too.

3 minute read

Before we get started, there are a couple of things we need to say upfront.

Firstly, we are not legally qualified and are not able to give legal advice. This post does not offer or represent any form of legal advice or guidance. You should always seek your own legal counsel for any GDPR related actions that you take.

Secondly, our insights assume you’re being compliant with GDPR, which means your website does not start tracking user behaviour until they have given their consent.

With that in mind, let’s begin.

Research tells us that a staggering 90% of users do not bother to interact with website cookie banners. GDPR requirements specify that users need to give their consent to cookies before they can run; this means that your analytics may only reflect the 10% of users who do provide consent. We recently wrote a detailed blog about why GDPR might be killing your analytics.

This has the potential to be a huge problem for organisations, which is why we’ve collated some tips to help you ensure you’re compliant and encouraging consent:

#1 Ensure your consent is valid

Consent must be freely given.” This means you need to avoid using pre-ticked boxes or assuming consent. Gone are the days when all you needed to do was tell people that your website used cookies; people must have a choice over whether or not their data is collected.

Consent must also be “unbundled”, which means that it needs to be separate to other terms and conditions, i.e., allowing people to actively ‘opt in’ to your newsletter or event invitations, in addition to agreeing to the terms of your privacy policy.

#2 Continually renew consent

Users must always be given the option to change their preferences by managing their cookie settings on your website or updating their subscription settings to your email marketing. This option must be straightforward, easy to find and easy to execute.

#3 Encourage acceptance

Under GDPR, you cannot prevent a user from navigating your website if they do not opt into your cookies. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be strategic about how you encourage users to engage with your cookie banner. This might mean placing a cookie banner on your site that stays put unless accepted and is distracting enough that a user would want to hide it, but not too prominent that they can’t navigate your website.

#4 Ensure you track after consent

Many sites are still tracking users before they accept (or ignore) cookies, which is not GDPR compliant. Ensure your website meets the legislation by visiting your site in incognito mode and testing which cookies track before you click accept on the cookie banner.

Ensuring compliance is still top of our agenda, and we’re continually reviewing our own practices and advice in accordance with the latest regulations. To learn more about consent and best practice, please see the ICO’s official guidance.

We hope you found this information useful. To stay in the loop with our latest insights, please register for our weekly newsletter.

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