Updated January 31, 2022.
Tracking cookies can help you learn more about how people use your website and find ways to optimize its performance. Tracking cookies, though, can be notoriously privacy-invasive to your website’s end-users, who increasingly demand transparency and control around how their data is handled online.
Cookiebot consent management platform (CMP) is a world-leading cookie tracker that automatically scans your website and controls all tracking cookies based on end-user consent.
In this blogpost, learn more about how to find and control the tracking cookies on your website using Cookiebot CMP.
Tracking cookies, in short
Free automatic cookie tracker with Cookiebot CMP
Cookies play a crucial role in both basic and complex operations on most websites today, and the most widespread type of cookies on the internet are so-called tracking cookies, used by websites everywhere (most likely yours too) to run analytics services, social media plugins and marketing tools – often at the expense of users’ privacy, since their personal data is processed to serve such services.
But the internet economy is changing, driven in large part by a strong and growing consumer demand for transparent solutions that enable end-users to protect their data privacy online, as it has become their right under most major data privacy laws in the world today.
Does my website use tracking cookies?
Scan your website for free with Cookiebot CMP
Some data regulations require that you obtain the explicit consent from end-users before activating tracking cookies on your website (such as the EU’s GDPR or Brazil’s LGPD), while others empower end-users with the right to opt-out of having their personal information collected via tracking cookies and then sold (such as California’s CCPA/CPRA).
At the end of the day, living up to the emerging data privacy requirements for controlling tracking cookies on your website can be painstakingly difficult since they most often are set and operated by third parties, such as Google or Facebook, often loaded in secret by other tracking cookies, and frequently change upon repeated visits.
What is a tracking cookie and how does it work?
Tracking cookies is the commonly used name for a wide variety of different tracking technologies in use on the internet today.
The most famous are third-party marketing cookies, which work as tiny files that get set on an end-user’s browser when they visit your website. From there, they will process and share personal data with their third-party providers – sometimes for years.
Tracking cookies can collect, process and share all kinds of personal (and sometimes sensitive) data from your website’s end-users, such as their search and browser history, IP addresses, on-site behavior, past purchases, Google searches – and they are often used to serve targeted advertisement back at the end-user, as they move across the internet.
You might have heard that third-party cookies will be phased out by Google’s Chrome in 2023, and wonder why you should care about tracking cookies on your website if they’re going to disappear anyway?
While it’s true that third-party cookies look to meet their demise in the near future, most other types of tracking cookies (such as Local Storage, IndexedDB and Web SQL to name a few existing ones), will continue to be used throughout the internet – and will all still require end-user consent or opt-out options under the world’s emerging data privacy laws.
While some tracking cookies will disappear, new ones will develop, and the growing consumer demand for websites to be in data privacy compliance, particularly around the issue of cookies and trackers, underline how important it is for websites and online businesses to pay close attention to how they handle their user’s personal data.
In other words, tracking cookies are everywhere, most likely also on your website, and end-users want transparency and control – but it can be hard to manage on your website without cookie tracking software designed for this purpose specifically.
Cookie tracker with Cookiebot CMP
Unrivaled cookie tracking software with Cookiebot CMP by Usercentrics
Built around the world’s most powerful cookie scanning technology that finds 63% more cookies and trackers than any competitor, our solution detects and controls all tracking cookies in use on your domain and offers your website’s end-users a choice of prior consent or opt-out through highly customizable cookie banners.
The geo-targeting feature of our CMP automatically locates where in the world your end-users are located and presents them with the right compliance solutions, whether it be opt-out banners for users in California or cookie consent banners for users in the EU.
Sign up to Cookiebot CMP today and make your website compliant with the EU’s GDPR, California’s CCPA/CPRA, Brazil’s LGPD, South Africa’s POPIA, Canada’s PIPEDA and many other data privacy regulations.
Cookiebot CMP comes as a HubSpot App and Umbraco App, a standard tag in Google Tag Manager, a WordPress plugin, and integrates seamlessly with Google Consent Mode as well as with IAB TCF 2.0 and IAB CCPA.
You can use our solution for free if your website has under 100 subpages.
Cookie tracking software to build trust with your website’s end-users
End-users are becoming increasingly aware of tracking cookies and the risks posed to their data privacy, while at the same time demanding better transparency and control over the personal data they generate online every day, while shopping and browsing.
In a 2021 study by Cisco, 79% of consumers say that data privacy is a buying factor for them, while 47% of consumer say they have switched brands because of the company’s data policies or data sharing practices.
End-users don’t want to be tracked by your website without first having given their consent. Build trustful customer relations by using a cookie tracker like Cookiebot CMP on your domain.
End-user consent is becoming a key part of the developing internet economy, and online businesses cannot afford to ignore consumer demands for data privacy compliance without risking large fines from data protection authorities and negative brand reputation.
Balancing data privacy and data-driven business, helping websites all over the world become compliant with all major data privacy laws in the world, is the mission of Cookiebot CMP.
Tracking cookies, in detail
Cookie tracking software to balance data privacy and data-driven business
Tracking cookies are everywhere – they form the backbone of digital advertisement and are therefore the target of many data privacy regulations and their enforcement authorities.
Under the EU’s GDPR – which applies to any website that has users from within Europe, regardless of where in the world the website itself is located – it is your responsibility as the website owner/operator to always make sure that you have a clear handle on your website’s tracking cookies: you are required to offer end-users full transparency (including details about technical specifications, duration, provider and purpose of each tracking cookie in use), and end-users must be able to decide for themselves whether they will allow personal data to be collected, processed, and shared by your domain.
But the problem with tracking cookies is that they are almost impossible to control without deep scanning cookie tracking software.
When a user visits your website, and a tracking cookie is loaded on one of your subpages, the tracking cookie often signals to other tracking cookies to activate themselves too.
In other words, one tracking cookie can activate hundreds of other tracking cookies, making the legal requirement for you to always know about and control the cookies on your website a very difficult job.
A recent collaborative study by Ebiquity and Usercentrics utilizing the deep-scanning technology of Cookiebot CMP found that over 92% of websites activated and used at least one tracking cookie without the end-user’s consent.
End-users are increasingly demanding real solutions to the sense of false control often felt, when websites use tracking cookies without their prior consent.
That staggering number of non-compliance indicates the dilemma that plagues a lot of online businesses and websites today: how to balance data privacy with data-driven business, how to aggregate data vital for revenue while at the same time respecting end-user consent and following data privacy regulations in places like Europe, Brazil, or California?
Automated data privacy compliance in a plug-and-play solution
Sign up to Cookiebot CMP for free today to get the world’s strongest cookie tracking software on your website, where it will automatically detect and control all tracking cookies and similar technologies, offer transparency and control to the end-user as well as manage all legal documentations of consents and opt-outs, in line with data privacy law requirements.
Consumer demand for a sustainable internet economy is growing, and how well your website or online business handles data privacy is fast becoming a metric of brand reputation. Build trust with your end-users and balance data privacy and data-driven business on your website with Cookiebot CMP by Usercentrics.
How do cookies track users?
Cookies save and store data from users when they visit websites, sometimes across multiple websites (known as ‘cross-site tracking cookies’). Cookies are small text files that can contain any kind of data about users (e.g. search and browser history) and share it with third parties. Some cookies are necessary for the basic functions of websites, while others are third-party marketing cookies collecting and sharing data about users for the purposes of targeted advertisement.
What can cookies track?
Cookies can track any kind of data about users, such as search and browser history, what websites they previously visited, what they googled earlier, their IP addresses, their on-site behavior such as scrolling speed, where they clicked and where their mouse hovered. Cookies that process personal data from users most often need end-user consent to operate legally on your website.
How do tracking cookies work?
Tracking cookies – also known as ‘third-party marketing cookies’ – work by placing themselves on a user’s browser and often stay for durations up to years. Here, they collect information about users, which they share with third parties for advertisement and marketing purposes. Tracking cookies come in many different technologies, but they all need end-user consent to operate legally in many parts of the world.
Are tracking cookies legal?
Tracking cookies need end-user consent to operate legally in many parts of the world, such as the EU, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, and several other places. Under the EU’s GDPR, tracking cookies need the explicit consent from users to even be activated and start operating, i.e. no personal data from EU users is allowed to be collected and shared by tracking cookies before users have said a clear ‘yes’.
What tracking cookies do I have on my website?
Most websites use tracking cookies, whether the website owner/operator is aware of them or not. Embedding YouTube videos, integrating social media plugins or running analytics services like Google Analytics or HubSpot will set tracking cookies on your domain that will collect and share personal data from the users visiting your website. It’s important that you know what cookies your website uses so as not to infringe your end-users’ data privacy.
Do cookies track IP addresses?
Yes, some cookies track IP addresses from users when they visit a website. The use of such tracking cookies is regulated in most parts of the world, and under the EU’s GDPR, California’s CCPA/CPRA, Brazil’s LGPD and South Africa’s POPIA, IP addresses are considered personal data/information.
What is cookie tracking software?
Cookie tracking software is a tool to help your website detect and control all cookies and trackers in use. Cookie tracking software can help you become compliant with global data privacy laws that require you to know what cookies your website uses and to hand over control to the end-user for a meaningful choice of consent.
How can I do cookie monitoring on my website?
Try using a cookie-monitoring software like Cookiebot CMP that automatically detects all cookies and trackers in use and holds back their activation until the user has given their choice of consent.
How do I make my website GDPR-compliant?
You must detect and control all cookies and trackers in use on your domain and enable end-users within the EU to have a clear and meaningful choice of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any non-necessary cookie in use of your website. The EU’s GDPR holds the website owner/operator responsible for processing personal data without end-user consent.