Why You Don’t Need Cookie Notification Pop-Ups

Marketing Grin - Cookie Law

This post looks at what you need to do to comply with cookie laws without affecting user experience. Most websites that I visit are still using pop-up cookie disclaimers to notify them that their website uses cookies. As I am sure most of you will agree, this is really annoying and does absolutely nothing for user experience but more importantly, is completely unnecessary, as I will explain.

The Information Commission Office states that “PECR do not set out exactly what information you must provide or how to provide it – this is up to you”. No-where does it say that you have to have a pop-up saying that you use cookies. You can comply with the EU cookie laws without affecting user experience, a simple link with the information in will suffice. The ICO states:

What do we need to do to comply?

The rules on cookies are in regulation 6. The basic rule is that you must:

  • tell people the cookies are there;
  • explain what the cookies are doing and why; and
  • get the person’s consent to store a cookie on their device.

As long as you do this the first time you set cookies, you do not have to repeat it every time the same person visits your website. However, bear in mind that devices may be used by different people. If there is likely to be more than one user, you may want to consider repeating this process at suitable intervals.

The ICO goes on to say:

What information must we give users?

PECR do not set out exactly what information you must provide or how to provide it – this is up to you. The only requirement is that it must be “clear and comprehensive” information about your purposes. You must explain the way the cookies (or other similar technologies) work and what you use them for, and the explanation must be clear and easily available. Users must be able to understand the potential consequences of allowing the cookies. You may need to make sure the language and level of detail are appropriate for your intended audience.

This is similar to the transparency requirements of the first data protection principle (privacy notices).

If you ask a website owner why they have a pop-up message about cookies, most will say “I thought you had to”. As there are so many websites doing it, many just assume that you have to and so it goes on.

Our Cookie Policy

On the Marketing Grin site for example, we combine our cookie policy with out privacy policy. All of the information is there making sure that we comply with EU cookie laws but it isn’t intrusive to the user.

Marketing Grin - Cookie Policy
Have a look at the sites that you visit over the next few days to see what they do. You will find that many have moved away from the intrusive pop-up notifications.

If you have any questions or comments, write a comment below and I will get back to you as quickly as possible. For more digital marketing advise, signup to our newsletter.