There have been several amendments to the rules and regulations on website cookies over the years. It is important to keep up with these updates, as failure to do so can result in legal action against your company.
The rules on storing data and tracking are getting tighter and are now accepted as best practice.
Many will already be aware of the recent updates which make changes to previous e-privacy rules. It states that before using cookies or trackers which store personal data, you must obtain consent from the user.
It gives users more control over their personal data. Allowing them to decide whether a company can track their user-behaviour and link it to their identity.
In this blog, we explain what cookie consent means for businesses, and the potential impact to your website analytics and insights.
Websites often display cookie consent panels, banners, and pop-ups as soon as you enter the site. Immediately giving users the option to consent.
There is no exact formula to getting it right. Some provide multiple options to choose from on the kinds of cookies users can consent to. While others take an all or nothing approach, asking users to ‘allow all’ or ‘reject all’. What’s more important is the transparency of choice for the user.
What cookie consent means for businesses and marketing
As cookies are now a business issue, not simply a digital marketing one, we recommend sitting down with your legal team to review your current settings and how they conform with GDPR and privacy laws.
2021 cookie legislation and Europe
Since we left the European Union, UK-based information tracking must follow the rules in the UK’s version of GDPR, ‘UK-GDPR’. It is very similar to the EU’s GDPR legislation, with some differences when it comes to immigration, national security, and intelligence.
However when it comes to gathering data on EU users, the EU’s laws on cookiebots and e-privacy still apply to UK companies. So if you have a global website or you have European customers, it is important to be aware of this.
What this means for your website & analytics
While user-behaviour data is useful for website owners and marketing departments, there is little information presented to users on what cookies are. Some may not know that they can help to improve user experience, personalisation, and marketing.
The idea of tracking isn’t appealing to the average person. So when presented with a cookie consent pop-up, most will instinctively opt for the ‘necessary’ cookie settings.
We understand, generally users just want to get on with their website browsing, rather than review the various settings available.
However, a user selecting the most basic cookie settings can have implications for your construction website, as your visibility on their behaviour and preferences will be limited.
This problem appeared on our radar when we noticed, during routine client website checks, that a number of our clients’ analytics accounts had experienced a very sudden and significant drop-off in their traffic.
Some of our clients saw analytics traffic drop by 30-70%, while others experienced page and UX issues. This can mean potentially missing out on key customers, or even disrupting current campaigns.
This, and any other significant change in your website analytics should be a priority investigation.
What to do if your traffic has suddenly dropped
Without a good reason to do so, people aren’t particularly comfortable sharing their personal data. So going forward, the way we perform website and marketing analysis has, and will continue to change.
With less data to work with and build your marketing from, you need to encourage people to share their data, and select more advanced cookie consent settings, by providing them with valuable construction content.
Whitepapers and guidebooks, for example, are useful for educating people on industry changes, or how your products or services can help customers overcome a challenge.
Moreover, if you are a building product manufacturer, you could provide your users website with a free specification tool, which will also lend itself to familiarising people with your product.
Inform users exactly why they should select the full-opt in option, like in the example above. While you must always give the option of ‘essential only’ cookies, being open and transparent about why a full opt-in will benefit users, and reassuring them that their data is safe, will provide confidence and build trust.
However, data and tracking is still important for planning and analysing your marketing and website performance. So, if you find your traffic has become more restricted, make use of goal conversion tracking in Google Analytics.
Goals are a way to track specific actions on your website, and whether they are being completed by a user. For example, hitting the ‘checkout button’ or submitting a contact form. Following this data can help you see whether your users become MQL’s, and if your marketing funnel is successful.
Cookie policies are important to protect your company
Although cookie laws can make it more challenging to see how your website is being used, it is important to get up to date on regulations you must follow.
Similarly to when the updates to GDPR law were implemented in 2018, companies can and will be penalised for not following the rules.
Because of the potential fines, it is worth making sure everyone in a managerial position at your company is aware of the new cookiebot legislation. When everyone knows the legal requirements and risks it is easier to justify decisions within your digital department, and to show that cookie consent if not managed properly can be an expensive issue.
While there are risks if you do not follow the rules properly, cookies are important for website owners and users.
From a business and marketing perspective, encouraging your users to allow for all cookies to be used will ensure you can continue to enhance your website and learn from user-behaviour data.
While for users, consenting to all cookies ensures they have the best experience of your website possible, in the knowledge their personal data is protected.