What Are Cookies: Do I Have To Risk It For This Biscuit?

Ah cookies, delicious bite sized treats and helpful pieces of code to improve your web experience. 

Cookies, the coded kind, are everywhere and you have no doubt seen a little pop up on a website that lets you know they are “using cookies to improve your experience.” But what are cookies, what do they do and when should you use them?

Cookie Consent Pop up with cookies background

So, what are Cookies?

Cookies are small files that a website sends to your device that can then be used to gather information on you, your device and your website activity. While this might sound very James Bond, this information is most often used for more mundane things like remembering what you put in your shopping cart and how you navigated a website. 

Cookies can be split into three categories, first party, third party and session cookies. 


First-Party Cookies

Also known as persistent cookies, first-party cookies track your online preferences and remain on your device after you have left the site which planted them. These cookies are used to remember your website preferences such as the language you browse in, the items in your shopping cart (even after you’ve closed and reopened the site) and your login details. Like a delicious snack, these are designed to make life easier. On our site, we use these to make sure you don’t see the new user pop-up every time you visit our site.


Third-Party Cookies

These cookies are placed on a site by another company or website in order to track your activity on the web. The most common example of this is the Facebook Pixel. This little piece of code watches which sites you visit so it can serve you ads for those services once you return to Facebook or Instagram. As a consumer this means you get served more relevant ads and as a business owner, this allows your marketing efforts to be more targeted as well as the ability to remarket to people who have visited your site and shown interest in the past. 


Session Cookies

Session cookies are temporary and disappear as soon as you have left the site. These cookies track your navigation of the website and remember things like what you’ve put in your cart so you can ‘proceed to checkout’ at any time and all your items will be waiting for you. 

If you do not have your first-party cookies or a Facebook Pixel activated on your site we highly suggest you get on that ASAP! If you’re not sure where to start, contact us and we will give you a hand or we can set them up for you. 

Hold on a minute, what if my customers don’t want to be tracked using Cookies?

Nobody panic! Around the world there are multiple laws governing what data you can collect, how you store the data and what can be shared with third parties. The basis of all of these laws is to allow the consumer to protect their privacy. This is why your customers are given a choice to accept these or not. They may also wish to opt-out of all Cookies. 

In order to comply with the latest laws for data privacy, all sites are required to place a banner on their site that notifies the user that they are browsing a site that uses cookies and provides a link to your site’s privacy and or cookie policy. This is a critical part of your site and we strongly encourage installing one if you haven’t already. Need help? We’ve got you covered. 

If you need hand installing a cookie policy banner reach out to us at hello@agoramarketing.co.za. To get your free privacy policy template click here.