UK websites drop an average of 14 cookies per page meaning users encounter anywhere from 112 to 140 trackers during an average session on a website, according to data from TRUSTe.

More than two-thirds of these trackers (68%) belong to third-party companies, making it difficult for websites to comply with the EU E-privacy Directive.

The survey, which looked at 50 top UK websites, found that 96% of sites had available privacy policies but 80% of those did not disclose how long the company retained user data.

According to TRUSTe’s stats, the average web user will encounter anywhere from 112 to 140 trackers during their average session on a website.

Privacy policies were another issue. One step towards complying with the EU cookie law is to ensure that cookie and privacy policies are informing web users of the kinds of data that is stores and why. 

However, the average privacy policy is 2,229 words long, and just 16% provided a bullet list summarising key points. In addition, 80% of policies did not disclose the length of time that user data is held for. 

Econsultancy’s privacy policy manages to beat that, coming in at almost 5,000 words, but we do provide clear information on the cookies we use and why. Also, clearer formatting can make a longer policy easier to scan and digest. 

The 68% of cookies which belong to third parties will present a problem for websites once the e-Privacy Directive can be enforced, and especially if a strict opt-in becomes necessary.

The Econsultancy / Toluna Quick survey on consumer attitudes to cookies found that, though 60% of respondents said they were happy to consent to cookies for basic info such as shopping cart consent, other cookies will be a hard sell. 

35% would consent to analytics cookies, at least if sold as ‘improving the experience’, but cookies for ads (21%) and those used to target ads on third party sites (17%) are less popular. 

What kinds of cookies would you be happy to consent to?

With time running out before the compliancy ‘deadline’ at the end of May, Econsultancy’s new best practice guide, The EU Cookie Law: A Guide to Compliance, is now available to download.

It looks into the legal changes as they affect online businesses in the UK, the potential threats to online business models and the steps that companies could be taking now to demonstrate compliance with the EU e-Privacy Directive.