You should be aware that when you use our websites & mobile sites, 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:
(i) 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 online shopping basket, cookies make sure it’s still there when you get to the checkout.
- 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.
(ii) Improving your browsing experience
These cookies allow the website to remember choices you make, such as your language or region 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 advertisment. This is sometimes called ‘frequency capping’.
- Showing you information that’s relevant to products of ours that you have.
- Enabling social media components, like Facebook or Twitter.
- Showing ‘related article’ links that are relevant to the page you’re looking at.
- Remembering a location you’ve entered such as weather forecasts.
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.