Friday, July 13, 2012

How will the new cookies law affect your marketing efforts?

Extract: The Direct Marketing Association has told marketers to consider a range of steps to ensure they comply with the cookies law.

It is likely that you will have heard a great deal over recent weeks about the new cookies law, but how will it affect your company's efforts to increase lead generation?

Last month, the UK government implemented an EU directive requiring websites to obtain visitors' permission before using cookies to track them and to make clear what data is being tracked and how it is being used.

What steps should you take?

In light of this, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has published a ten-step guide to cookie management, which advocates that organisations engage all key stakeholders, including marketers, in debates about what cookies policy they implement.

Furthermore, it advises companies to check all the areas where cookies may be used and to assess their level of intrusiveness and their function, as well as to develop and test any solutions they do implement.

Firms also need to consider how they will obtain consent from web users to track cookies; there are many ways of doing this: pop-up boxes, homepage headers, providing terms and conditions and so on.

They will need to use these to provide access to content that tells users what cookies are being used, what they are doing and how users can provide or withdraw consent for their data to be tracked.

Non-compliance still rife

It is advice many firms should take on board, but to date it seems that very few are doing so as yet.

Earlier this month, a study of 55 major organisations' websites by KPMG revealed that just ten of them were compliant with the cookies law, despite potentially facing fines of up to £500,000 for breaching this regulation.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) last month expressed concern at the continuing high levels of non-compliance, but acknowledged that the heavy workload involved in meeting this new law would take time to complete.

Dave Evans, who has led the ICO's work on cookies, told BBC News that the regulator would instead expect companies not yet compliant to be able to demonstrate what steps they had undertaken over the past year to adhere to these new regulations.

Do your company's integrated marketing services obey the new rules on cookies? What policies should you adopt in response to this law change?