A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer’s hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.
We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.
The only cookies in use on our site are for Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that helps website owners understand how visitors engage with their website. Google Analytics customers can view a variety of reports about how visitors interact with their website so that they can improve it.
Like many services, Google Analytics uses first-party cookies to track visitor interactions as in our case, where they are used to collect information about how visitors use our site. We then use the information to compile reports and to help us improve our site.
Cookies contain information that is transferred to your computer’s hard drive. These cookies are used to store information, such as the time that the current visit occurred, whether the visitor has been to the site before and what site referred the visitor to the web page.
Google Analytics collects information anonymously. It reports website trends without identifying individual visitors. You can opt out of Google Analytics without affecting how you visit our site – for more information on opting out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites you use, visit this Google page.
Globally and in the European Union member states Google sets the following cookies:
A persistent cookie – remains on a computer, unless it expires or the cookie cache is cleared. It tracks visitors. Metrics associated with the Google __utma cookie include: first visit (unique visit), last visit (returning visit). This also includes Days and Visits to purchase calculations which afford ecommerce websites with data intelligence around purchasing sales funnels.
__utmb Cookie & __utmc Cookie
These cookies work in tandem to calculate visit length. Google __utmb cookie demarks the exact arrival time, then Google __utmc registers the precise exit time of the user.
Because __utmb counts entrance visits, it is a session cookie, and expires at the end of the session, e.g. when the user leaves the page. A timestamp of 30 minutes must pass before Google cookie __utmc expires. Given__utmc cannot tell if a browser or website session ends. Therefore, if no new page view is recorded in 30 minutes the cookie is expired.
This is a standard ‘grace period’ in web analytics. Ominture and WebTrends among many others follow the same procedure.
Cookie __utmz monitors the HTTP Referrer and notes where a visitor arrived from, with the referrer siloed into type (Search engine (organic or cpc), direct, social and unaccounted). From the HTTP Referrer the __utmz Cookie also registers, what keyword generated the visit plus geolocation data.
This cookie lasts six months. In tracking terms this Cookie is perhaps the most important as it will tell you about your traffic and help with conversion information such as what source / medium / keyword to attribute for a Goal Conversion.
Google __utmv Cookie lasts “forever”. It is a persistant cookie. It is used for segmentation, data experimentation and the __utmv works hand in hand with the __utmz cookie to improve cookie targeting capabilities.