First In-Depth Analysis of the Impact of EU Cookie Directive Shows Majority of Users Choosing to Allow Advertising Cookies

The first in-depth analysis of the impact of the EU Cookie Directive on websites shows that the majority of users are choosing to allow the use of third party advertising cookies and only a small minority (0.05% or 5 in 10,000) are choosing to only allow “Required” or “Functional” cookies. With the ICO due to publish a progress report on the Cookie Directive in November, these findings show that businesses can address the Directive and build more consumer trust through greater transparency of their tracking without having a negative impact on their website performance.

TRUSTe, the global leader in data privacy management solutions, reviewed the impact of addressing the EU Cookie Directive with a robust consent management solution by reviewing the actions taken by a sample of 3.5 million users of 29 different UK website implementations from June through September 2012. The companies included in the analysis all use TRUSTe’s EU Consent Manager solution to comply with the Directive. TRUSTe has been working with clients ranging from Oracle, to publishers such as Forbes & IDG, and consumer brands such as Aldo Shoes who have all chosen the TRUSTe EU Consent Manager solution to manage compliance and cookie preferences on their websites.

The highlights of the analysis are:

  • Sample consisted of 3.5 million unique visitors to a UK website featuring the TRUSTe EU Consent Manager solutions
  • 1.47% chose to learn more about their preferences by clicking on the “Cookie Preferences” icon and going to the “About Cookies” page (this is over 10 times the average click through rate on the typical banner ad)
  • Of the visitors to the “About Cookies” page, 8.2% (approximately 1 in 12) chose to view their Cookie Settings and took the following actions:
    • 14.8% chose to change their settings to Functional Cookies”, described as “cookies that allow us to analyse site usage so we can measure and improve”
    • 26.8% chose to change their settings to Minimal Cookies” described as “cookies required to enable core site functionality”
    • 58.4% did not change their setting from the default of “Advertising Cookies”, described as “cookies used by advertising companies to serve ads that are relevant to your interests”

Danilo Labovic, MD EMEA for TRUSTe said:

“At the start of 2012 there was significant concern about the potential impact of the EU Cookie Directive on businesses if consumers opted out of cookies and abandoned websites due to a bad user experience.

The good news for website owners is the vast majority of visitors are continuing to allow full “Advertising Cookies” with a minority of visitors choosing to change their default cookie setting and only allow “Required or Functional Cookies” on the websites they visited.

We recently analysed the cookie compliance solutions for 231 of the UK’s top websites and found that 63% had done something to address the Directive – of which 12% had implemented a robust consent management solution providing users with prominent cookie notice and robust / user-friendly controls.

Today’s analysis shows that sites with a robust compliance solution are not experiencing significant opt-out rates and at the same time are further building trust with their customers by giving them both notice of the tracking activity and the ability to easily make an informed choice about their tracking preferences.”

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