What is a cookie?
For almost any modern website to work properly, it needs to collect certain basic information on its users. To do this, a site will create files known as cookies – which are small text files – on its users’ computers. These cookies are designed to allow the website to recognise its users on subsequent visits, or to authorise other designated websites to recognise these users for a particular purpose.
Cookies do a lot of different jobs which make your experience of the Internet much smoother and more interactive. For instance, they are used to remember your preferences on sites you visit often, to remember your user ID and the contents of your shopping baskets, and to help you navigate between pages more efficiently. They also help ensure that the advertisements that you see online are more relevant to you and your interests. Much, though not all, of the data that they collect is anonymous, though some of it is designed to detect browsing patterns and approximate geographical location to improve user experience.
Information collected by cookies is not personally identifiable.
What types of cookie are there?
Broadly speaking, there are four types of cookie: strictly necessary cookies, performance cookies, functionality cookies and targeting or advertising cookies
- Strictly necessary cookies are essential to navigate around a website and use its features. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to use basic services.
- Performance cookies collect anonymous data on how visitors use a website; they can’t track users, and are only used to improve how a website works.
- Functionality cookies allow users to customise how a website looks for them: they can remember usernames, language preferences and regions, and can be used to provide more personal services like local weather reports and traffic news.
- Advertising and targeting cookies are used to deliver advertisements more relevant to you, but can also limit the number of times you see an advertisement, and be used to chart the effectiveness of an ad campaign by tracking users’ clicks.
Additionally, these cookies break down into two further sub-types.
- Persistent cookies remain on a user’s device for a set period of time specified in the cookie. They are activated each time that the user visits the website that created that particular cookie.
- Session cookies are temporary. They allow website operators to link the actions of a user during a browser session. A browser session starts when a user opens the browser window and finishes when they close the browser window. Once you close the browser, all session cookies are deleted.
What’s the law?
Recently, the law on cookies has changed. Now sites that try to place performance, functionality, and targeting and advertising cookies need your permission before they can place them onto your computer.
BenefitsWise collects a number of cookies from its users for various reasons, not least to track our own performance – but also it will assist in improving your overall experience of the site. Amongst other things, the cookies we use allow us to calculate how many visitors we have – anonymously, of course – and how long they stay on our site.
We do our utmost to respect users’ privacy. We use these cookies to monitor and improve our services. We believe that your experience of the site would be adversely affected if you opted out of the cookies we use.
BenefitsWise uses Google Analytics to monitor visits to our website. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of the website, compiling reports on website activity for website operators and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.
We set the following cookies:
|Cookie Name||Cookie Description||Cookie Purpose||Cookie Description||ICC UK Definition|
|__utma||Google Analytics||Identifying Unique Visitors||Each unique browser that visits a page on our site is provided with a unique ID via the __utma cookie. In this way, subsequent visits to your website via the same browser are recorded as belonging to the same (unique) visitor.||Performance|
|Google Analytics||Determining Visitor Session||The Google Analytics tracking for ga.js uses two cookies to establish a session. If either of these two cookies are absent, further activity by the user initiates the start of a new session.||Performance|
|__utmz||Google Analytics||Tracking Traffic Sources & Navigation||When visitors reach our site via a search engine result, a direct link, or an ad that links to our page, Google Analytics stores the type of referral information in a cookie. This cookie gets updated with each subsequent page view to your site; thus it is used to determine visitor navigation within your site.||Performance|
How do I turn cookies off?
Most browsers accept cookies automatically, but you can alter the settings of your browser to erase cookies or prevent automatic acceptance if you prefer. Generally you have the option to accept all cookies, to be notified when a cookie is issued or reject all cookies. Visit the ‘options’ or ‘preferences’ menu on your browser to change settings. You can find out more about how to switch off cookies here.
By continuing to use our site, you agree to the placement of cookies on your device. If you choose not to receive our cookies, we cannot guarantee that your experience will be as fulfilling as it would otherwise be. For instance, the site won’t be able to recognise your commenter ID, meaning that you won’t be able to leave comments.