Have you ever clicked on an interesting news link and before you even got a chance to start reading, the content was immediately covered by a giant consent banner with only one option - an Accept button? There was no option to just close it and get back to your reading, just that single button forcing you to accept their conditions. Is this legal? And why would any serious website do this to its readers? In this article, you will find out the answers to these questions and more.
A group of researchers from the University of Michigan and Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany had similar concerns as the ones mentioned above and decided to conduct a study entitled “(Un)informed Consent: Studying GDPR Consent Notices in the Field”. You can find the entire paper with the detailed results here.
The reasons behind these cookie banners are, of course, privacy laws meant to protect user data. This particular study focuses mainly on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Data Privacy Law that came into effect in May 2018.
The study focused on 3 main points:
And for these, 3 different experiments were conducted on more than 80,000 unique website visitors. The study took place on a popular German website between November 2018 and March 2019.
Does the placement of a cookie consent banner affect our decision to accept or reject them? According to this study, it very much does. User experience on a website is important, and of course, people’s attention is more likely to be drawn to certain parts of the screen. If a cookie banner is placed in the right spot it has a higher chance of being accepted.
The study took into consideration both desktop and mobile displays, so here’s what you need to consider when creating or redesigning your website:
Both on desktop and mobile, the consent banner placed in the bottom-left corner received the most attention from visitors. So, to get more accurate results, the researchers decided that for Experiments 2 and 3 the banners should be placed in the bottom-left corner.
Which of the following are people most likely to consent to? Are more options better than a single one?
The researchers tested out multiple variations of the cookie banners (cited directly from the study):
The outcome of this experiment was diverse in terms of consent choices. More visitors accepted cookies in both binary conditions, where they had the option to decline
cookies, rather than in the non-nudging confirmation condition, where they could only accept cookies or not interact with the notice. In comparison to Experiment 1, the total percentage of people who interacted with the banner increased (from 13% to 55%), most notably on mobile devices. The highest interaction rate (55 %) occurred for the binary consent notice placed on mobile devices.
Now that you know which cookie consent notices perform better than others, you are able to decide on your own what the best choice would be for your website. But keep in mind that if you use TWIPLA to track your website, no cookie banner is needed. Just make sure that you go to your account settings and choose IP anonymization and consentless tracking options.
Keep in mind that other third-party tools or plugins used on your website might still require you to have a consent banner in place, but if TWIPLA is the only third-party app on your site, you can rest assured that no annoying cookie banner is needed.
Use consent banners if you need them, but be aware that you might end up with less than 5% of the actual data when you do everything legally.
You can read more about how the cookieless tracking process works here.
Source: "(Un)informed Consent: Studying GDPR Consent Notices in the Field".The authors of the paper are Christine Utz, Florian Schaub, Martin Degeling, Sascha Fahl, and Thorsten Holz.
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