What is a Cookie?
Cookies are text files containing small amounts of information which are downloaded to your device when you visit a website. Cookies are then sent back to originating website on each subsequent visit or to another website that recognises that cookie. Cookies are useful because they allow a website to recognise a user’s device.
Cookies do lots of different jobs, like letting you navigate between pages efficiently, remembering your preferences and generally improve the user experience. They can also help to ensure that adverts you see online are more relevant to you and your interests.
Cookies can be divided into four categories; strictly necessary cookies, performance cookies, functionality cookies and advertising cookies.
- Strictly necessary cookies - these cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies services you have asked for, like shopping baskets or e-billing, cannot be provided.
- Performance cookies - these cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don’t collect information that identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works.
- Functionality cookies - these cookies allow the website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the country you are in) and provide enhanced, more personal features. These cookies can also be used to remember changes you have made to text size, fonts and other parts of web pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you have asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. The information these cookies collect may be anonymised and they cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
- Advertising cookies - These cookies are used to deliver adverts more relevant to you and your interests. They are also used to limit the number of times you see an advertisement as well as help measure the effectiveness of the advertising campaign. They are usually placed by advertising networks with the website operator’s permission. They remember that you have visited a website and this information is shared with other organisations such as advertisers. Quite often targeting or advertising cookies will be linked to site functionality provided by the other organisation.