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It seems that the vast majority of web users are not too concerned about viewing information about privacy and cookies, with just 1.47% clicking to find out more. 

Stats from a sample of 35m users of 29 websites from TRUSTe show that a tiny minority are choosing to find out more about cookies, while the majority of those choose not to change settings. 

This data suggests that, with the current implementation of the cookie law, online businesses have little to fear.... 

TRUSTe cookie consent

TRUSTe's 'Consent Manager' is used on several sites, including Forbes, Oracle, and Aldo Shoes. Here's an example from Aldo. 

The link to the privacy and cookies info isn't too intrusive, which may explain why very few are clicking on it. 

This then opens up a lightbox which provides users with the option to proceed with cookies or find out more: 

Users can then choose to set preferences ad reject functional and advertising cookies if they wish:

The stats

1.47% chose to learn more about their preferences by clicking on the “Cookie Preferences” icon and going to the “About Cookies” page (this is over 10 times the average click through rate on the typical banner ad).

Of the visitors to the “About Cookies” page, 8.2% chose to view their Cookie Settings and took the following actions:

  • 14.8% chose to change their settings to Functional Cookies, described as “cookies that allow us to analyse site usage so we can measure and improve”.
  • 26.8% chose to change their settings to Minimal Cookies described as “cookies required to enable core site functionality”.
  • 58.4% did not change their setting from the default of Advertising Cookies, described as “cookies used by advertising companies to serve ads that are relevant to your interests”.

So, just 1.47% are viewing cookie information, and even then, less than half of them are actually changing settings. And this is sites which actually provide the option to change cookie preferences. 

According to TRUSTe's MD EMEA Danilo Labovic:

We recently analysed the cookie compliance solutions for 231 of the UK’s top websites and found that 63% had done something to address the Directive – of which 12% had implemented a robust consent management solution providing users with prominent cookie notice and robust / user-friendly controls.

Today’s analysis shows that sites with a robust compliance solution are not experiencing significant opt-out rates and at the same time are further building trust with their customers by giving them both notice of the tracking activity and the ability to easily make an informed choice about their tracking preferences.

What was all the fuss about then? 

For a variety of reasons, some to do with the unclear guidance around the cookie law, businesses were fearing losing sales due to intrusive cookie consent measures, as well as a loss of vital anlytics data as users opted out. 

As it turned out, the ICO updated its guidance at the eleventh hour, and an 'implied consent' model was said to be acceptable.

In any case, while sites like the Mirror and BBC have implemented implied consent solutions, very few e-commerce sites are crazy enough to apply a strict consent model which might deter customers. 

The worst I've seen comes from Games Workshop, which won't allow customers to enter the site without accepting cookies. This must be deterring customers:

However, solutions as strict as this are rare, and the majority have taken a similar approach to Econsultancy, with a privacy and cookies link on the page, which then leads to further information.

Graham Charlton

Published 31 October, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Hannah Norman, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

I find with most sites I visit unless the pop-up for cookies is in my way I just ignore it and eventually it goes away.

It seems to me that most sites who use the cookies they collect to improve user experience and track activity it can only be a good idea to allow them to be tracked.

I know there is anther side to the argument but on the whole they are used for good (or i like to think they are).

almost 4 years ago


Neil Flynn

Just to confirm that these figures UK only?

almost 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Neil - yes, UK stats

almost 4 years ago


James Heywood

Hang on a minute... perhaps only 1% click on cookies because the eTrust example is a small link and there's no pop-up.

The BBC example is much more prominent than the eTrust one.

almost 4 years ago


Hannah Norman, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

As long as you have your cookie policy geared towards implied consent then clicks aren't an issue I think.

almost 4 years ago



Very energetic article, I liked that a lot.

Will there be a part 2?

almost 4 years ago

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