You should be aware that when you use our websites, mobile sites, or mobile apps, we may collect information by using ‘cookies’.
What are cookies and how do they work?
Cookies are small bits of text that are downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website. Your browser sends these cookies back to the website every time you visit the site again, so it can recognise you and can then tailor what you see on the screen.
Cookies are an important part of the internet. They make using websites much smoother and affect lots of the useful features of websites. There are many different uses for cookies, but they fall into four main groups.
Cookies that are needed to provide the service you have asked for
Some cookies are essential so you can move around the website and use its features. Without these cookies, services you’ve asked for can’t be provided. These cookies don’t gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you’ve been on the internet.
Here are some examples of essential cookies:
- Keeping you logged in during your visit; without cookies you might have to log in on every page you go to.
- When you add something to the your basket, cookies make sure it remains there for your visit.
- Some are session cookies which make it possible to navigate through the website smoothly. However these are automatically deleted after you close your web browser.
Improving your browsing experience
These cookies allow the website to remember choices you make, such as your preferences and they provide improved features.
Here are a few examples of just some of the ways that cookies are used to improve your experience on our websites.
- Remembering your preferences and settings, including marketing preferences.
- Remembering if you’ve filled in a survey, so you’re not asked to do it again.
- Remembering if you’ve been to the site before. If you are a first-time user, you might see different content to a regular user.
- Restricting the number of times you’re shown a particular advertisement. This is sometimes called ‘frequency capping’.
- Enabling social media components, like Facebook or Twitter.
- Showing ‘related article’ links that are relevant to the page you’re looking at.
- Remembering your preferred bookie ordering.
We like to keep track of what pages and links are popular and which ones don’t get used so much to help us keep our sites relevant and up to date. It’s also very useful to be able to identify trends of how people navigate (find their way through) our sites and if they get ‘error messages’ from web pages.
This group of cookies, often called ‘analytics cookies’ are used to gather this information. These cookies don’t collect information that identifies you. The information collected is anonymous and is grouped with the information from everyone else’s cookies. We can then see the overall patterns of usage rather than any one person’s activity. Analytics cookies only record activity on the site you are on and they are only used to improve how a website works.
Some of our websites and some of the emails you might get from us also contain small invisible images known as ‘web beacons’ or ‘tracking pixels’. These are used to count the number of times the page or email has been viewed and allows us to measure the effectiveness of its marketing and emails. These web beacons are anonymous and don’t contain or collect any information that identifies you.
We also use ‘affiliate’ cookies. Some of our web pages will contain promotional links to other companies’ sites. If you follow one of these links and then register with or buy something from that other site, a cookie is sometimes used to tell that other site that you came from one of our sites. That other site may then pay us a small amount for the successful referral. This works using a cookie.
Showing advertising that is relevant to your interests
We sell space on some of our sites to advertisers. The resulting adverts often contain cookies. We also place our own cookies to collect non-personal information about our users that we then sell to advertisers. This information can be used to:
- restrict the number of times you see the same ad (frequency capping); and
- help show other ads that are relevant to you while you’re on our websites or visiting third party websites. This is often called online behavioural advertising (OBA). OBA is a way of using information about your web-browsing activity, collected by using cookies, to group you with other users into interest groups and show you advertisements based on those interests. The OBA data collected from cookies you get when you’re on our sites may be used to show you relevant ads on our sites and other websites that you visit.
Although the OBA data collected uses your browsing activity to understand your interests, the data is anonymous and isn’t linked to you as a person.
Please e-mail any questions or comments you have about this policy at [email protected]