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Knowledgebase Cookies 101 What is a Tracking Cookie?


What is a Tracking Cookie?

Last Updated: October 18, 2021

A tracking cookie is a sample of text dropped onto a browser while viewing a website. This text collects data from a user such as their activity on a website, browsing history, geographic location, purchase trends, and more.


What makes a tracking cookie unique is that it can follow a user across multiple sites or services and continue to stack data. The information gathered is often used for direct marketing purposes such as targeted ads, but tracking cookies do carry criticism as some fear the amount of data collected can be intrusive.

Tracking Cookies Example

An example of a tracking cookie is one set by Facebook. When you visit and log into Facebook, it puts a tracking cookie on your browser. This means every time you visit a site that has Facebook integrated, that site will be able to determine information such as if you have a Facebook account or not.


Tracking Cookies and Regulation

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), users must give prior consent before tracking cookies are applied, meaning that no data can be tracked without the user first acknowledging and accepting the collection of data.


Under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), users must be informed of what data is being collected by tracking cookies as well as how that data is processed. They also have the right to delete or opt-out of personal information which is often stored by tracking cookies.


Along with the GDPR and CCPA, there are dozens of other regulations that govern the use of tracking cookies. To make sure your website is compliant, get a free website scan from CookiePro for a detailed report of tracking cookies found on your website. Then, tailor a cookie banner to capture consent before tracking cookies are dropped.  


Scan for Tracking Cookies

In order to uncover and categorize types of tracking cookies and other technologies is with a free cookie scanner like CookiePro. With CookiePro you can also schedule cookie scans that will automatically update your policies with the latest tracking cookies and other technologies.


A deep website scan will uncover privacy policies and cookie notices behind login pages, as well as provide website owners with more insight into their sites’ privacy health.


Block Third-Party Cookies

In order to comply with global privacy regulations such as the GDPR, site owners must implement measures on their site that ensure it does not set cookies and other tracking technologies before receiving user consent.


CookiePro’s Cookie Auto-Blocking technology has the power to automatically scan, find, and block specified technologies on a website until the visitor has provided consent with no extra coding or integrations required.


Are Tracking Cookies Bad?

Tracking Cookies are not inherently bad or harmful to your computer. However, it’s important for users and websites to understand how the collection and processing of personal information impact them. There can be many benefits to both a user and website when tracking cookies are used positively, such as with a better user experience and personalized content. Although, it’s critical websites provide transparency into how this data is being used and respect the users’ wishes.


Especially in the future when Google Chrome ends the use of third-party cookies, websites must begin finding new ways to prepare now. Websites that test strategies now will not only keep access to all their analytics data and insights but will make compliance a competitive advantage.

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Create a customizable cookie banner and preference center for visitors to provide consent and opt-in or opt-out of certain categories of tracking on your website.

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