Are you ready for the cookie law?

If your site needs to use cookies, you'll be aware of May 26. It's the deadline after which, in order to use almost any cookies, you will have to get your users' consent. The commercial implications are huge – so have you thought about the best way to address this?

 Are you ready for the cookie law?

The key issues to address

There are 2 key things you have to deal with here – securing consent, and making sure that consent is informed.

To quote the ICO’s not-so-pithy explanation, “Consent must involve some form of communication where the individual knowingly indicates their acceptance”. So no implied or assumed consent policies will be valid – you need an explicit statement.

And then, in a world where only 13% of users fully understand how cookies work (as shown in research commissioned by the government last year), you need to make sure that consent is informed. In other words, you need to make sure that your users know what a cookie is.

There are design and technical issues here, of course, but the real impact will come with copy, not design. How do you write a message that complies with the law but doesn’t scare your customers off – particularly the ones who don’t really know what cookies are?

Getting the words right

A lot of our clients have come to us for help with drafting their policy wording. Many of them are household names with millions of customers in the UK, so for them, the difference between getting consent and not getting consent could mean a big impact on the bottom line.

We’ve become adept at working out what needs to go in your cookie notice from any existing privacy policy. But what we’re showing our clients is that, with the right lagugage, it’s possible to present this information in a non-threatening way.

Working your tone of voice is the key.

A lot of cookie messages we’re seeing have got legal teams’ fingerprints all over them – they’re wordy, full of jargon and wholly impersonal. It’s the last thing you want to get across to your users.

Getting this message right is what your tone of voice was born to do – use it well, and you’ll get across a clear message in a way that your customers know and trust. They’ll be reassured, and it’ll be business as usual.

Be a best practice pioneer

Virtually everyone uses cookies, so everyone will need these notices – even if just to enable people to give consent to have a site remember their cookie preferences. We’ll be looking into testing different messages so we can develop a best practice to share with our clients. Interested? Talk to us abour crafting your cookie messaging.