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Confused about your cookies crumbling?

Is it me or is there a distinct lack of marketers with real concern over the new Cookie law? It’s most likely there’ll be a high profile fine sooner or later and everybody will have to sit up and take notice then! Maybe we should all just get prepared and start to talk to our tech teams now about our best options.

The new “E-Privacy” Directive comes into effect on May 26th. It requires marketers and website owners to get specific consent from European users before using cookies or similar technology to capture the whizzy kind of visitor information that all marketers love; the ability to customise online experiences, use web analytics, recommend related products, and allow auto-log in for example.

For many, these online tactics have only just been launched on their sites – and now they are being taken away! Frustrating to say the least…and there may be a negative impact on your lead and revenue targets. Many marketers are not even aware of how prevalent cookies may be in their online marketing.

But as always with new legislation, your eyelids may droop, your brain becomes foggy, and you’re just not really sure where to turn. So to ensure you are compliant, here are five tactics to add to your best-practise toolkit:

1. Know what types of cookies and other tracking mechanisms you are using.
First-person session cookies are seen as more privacy friendly and necessary, for example, than third-party persistent cookies. Talk to your IT and web analytics teams to fully understand.

2. Give clear and complete notice.

Make sure your privacy policy is explicit and up to date.

3. Start to consider an opt-in mechanism for your website.
All marketers who are in European Union nations—or who market to their citizens—should plan to start collecting explicit opt-in via some mechanism other than the browser. This could be via a mobile application, a registration form or check box, or even an in-store or telephone consent. The directive is clear that the use of cookies without express consent needs to be “strictly necessary” as well as “explicitly requested” from the consumer.

4. Review how your website is architected.
What would happen to the user experience if most visitors did not tick your cookie opt-in box? Since an unending series of pop-ups is not ideal, you might consider an ‘express consent’ mechanism allowing global opt-in on your home page and any landing pages.

5. Collect and manage the data on your landing pages.
Here is where technology is your friend. Use your marketing automation or eCRM software to help you collect, store, manage and utilise information so that future email or other messaging can reflect custom landing pages for those who have provided an express opt-in.

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