May 13th, 2012 | 2 MIN READ

EU Cookie Law: 4 Tips For Crafting Your Opt-In Request

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

The May 26 deadline for compliance with the EU cookie law is rapidly approaching, and my heart goes out to all our friends affected by this ridiculous "solution" to a poorly defined problem.

For a refresher on what the new law is about, check out Silktide's brilliant (and humorous) explanation of it.

I was asked in an interview by Mike Arsenault of Rejoiner last week what I thought of the law's impact on personalization. My biggest concern is that consumers unreasonably fear cookies and their impact on privacy, without understanding how they make life easier for web users in terms of personalization and time-saving.

According to the eCustomer Service Index survey conducted by the IMRG and eDigitalResearch:

  • 75% of UK consumers had never heard of the e-Privacy Directive before taking the survey
  • After being “informed” (for the purposes of the survey), 89% of respondents indicated they believe the EU cookie law is a positive step towards online privacy
  • 79% believe changes are needed to address the lack of public knowledge about cookies
  • 33% believe cookies may be used for viruses in Trojans
  • 23% of consumers do not object to cookies that improve their browsing experience
  • That means 77% are against cookies that improve their browsing experience!

Website optimization is about usability, persuasion, and addressing the FUD inside users' heads. If you do business in the EU, you're going to have to ask for permission. And the key to gaining permission is in your copywriting.

Remember to:

1. Stress the value proposition to the user of allowing cookies.

If the features you offer that require cookies are attractive enough, users will submit. Don't be afraid to be specific, and think about what the customer wants to get out of your site.

2. Explain what cookies are and that they are not used for a sinister purpose on your site

Laws like this only reinforce the idea that cookies are bad. You have to re-educate the visitor that not all cookies are evil, and that the ones you use are not going to harm the user's computer or track personally identifiable information.

3. Use bullet points in accordance to web usability best practice

Regular web copywriting standards apply. Users don't want to read blocks of text.

4. Include a link to a more detailed privacy policy

Show you have nothing to hide by linking through to a reader-friendly privacy policy, written to address the FUD (fears, uncertainties and doubts) that your visitors are likely to have.

In addition to crafting your copy, download EU Cookie Law: a Guide to Compliance which includes information on performing a cookie audit, adhering to the ICO's requirements and understanding your UI options for implementation.

Image credits
The Daily Dose
The New Yorker

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