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Cookie and Tracking Technologies

How Which? uses cookies and what they are.

In this article
What are cookies and how do we use them? What are cookies and tracking technologies? The cookies and tracking technologies we use How do I change my cookie settings?
Our classification of cookies Our main technology partners

What are cookies and how do we use them?

This policy is split into four sections:

  1. What are cookies and tracking technologies?
  2. The cookies and tracking technologies we use
  3. How do I change my cookie settings?
  4. Our classification of cookies
  5. Our main technology partners

What are cookies and tracking technologies?

Where we talk about cookies on our websites, we mean cookies and web beacons.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a text file containing a small amount of data which is downloaded to your computer when you visit one of our websites or see one of our adverts elsewhere on the internet. The vast majority of websites use cookies and tracking technologies. Cookies are useful because they help us arrange the content and layout of our websites and recognise those computers that have been to our websites before. They allow us to remember your preference settings and play an important role in helping us to enhance the usability and performance of our websites and your experience using them.  Some cookies are also essential to enable you to move around our website and use its features. They also help us to identify which of our articles are the most popular and the types of journey visitors have to our websites.

A list of all the cookies that we, our advertising network and technology partners use can be found in our cookie list.

What is a web beacon?

Web beacons are usually tiny transparent images that help website owners track the activity of users on certain web pages. They can also send the website owner (for example, us or our technology partners) information in cookies such as whether an email with a web beacon in it has been opened. We use web beacons together with cookies to help us understand how you interact with our websites and the emails we send you; to help us improve your browsing experience; to ensure that content is relevant to you; and to better manage our website and email content.

The cookies and tracking technologies we use

When you access our websites you will receive a message advising you that we use cookies use cookies to allow us and selected partners to analyse site performance to improve your experience and for advertising.  That message also provides a link to this Policy. It is necessary to place some cookies on your computer in order to display the website page to you. If you continue to use our websites, further cookies will be placed on your computer to maximise your experience on our websites to help us understand how we can improve them and to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of our advertising.

How do I change my cookie settings?

If you don’t want us to place cookies on your computer then there are a number of ways you can opt out - setting your browser either to reject all cookies, to only allow “trusted” sites to set them, to accept only those cookies from those websites which you are currently on.

We like the website www.aboutcookies.org which gives you detailed step by step guidance on how to control and delete cookies depending on your browser type. You can then adjust your browser settings to your preferred level of protection.

You can also use the links below to find out how to manage cookies on popular browsers:

Google Chrome

Microsoft Edge

Mozilla Firefox

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Opera

Apple Safari

Safari iOS

Android

Blackberry

Windows Phone

To find information relating to other browsers, visit the browser developer's website.

We have also included links to the privacy policies of our technology partners in our cookie list so that you can control the cookies they place more easily.

Our classification of cookies

The cookies on our site are broken down into three categories – Essential, Advertising and Analytics and Customisation. Essential cookies are needed for our site to function, and can therefore not be turned off. You can opt out of all other cookies, as set out above, if desired. Please remember – if you do delete all your cookies, some features of our websites, such as remembering your login details, will not work and your experience on our websites may be affected.

We have reviewed all the cookies we use and have divided them into three categories:

  • Essential
  • Analytics and customisation
  • Advertising or tracking

Essential

These cookies are essential to enable you to move around the websites and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the websites. Without these cookies, our websites won’t work properly.

Analytics and customisation

Our Analytics cookies collect information about how you use our websites and help us improve how our website work. For instance, this could be the pages you visit most often and the error messages from those pages.   

Additionally we have customisation cookies that allow us to remember the choices you make (such as your username and password) and provide enhanced, more personal features. These cookies can also be used to remember changes you have made to text size, fonts and other parts of our web pages that you can customise.  

They may also be used to provide services you have requested such as watching a video or commenting on a blog.

We use tools such as Google Analytics to help us better understand how our customers navigate to and through our websites, how long customers spend visiting our content items, how often they return to visit our websites and what demographic categories (age, gender, interests) they fall into.

These tools also help us track the effectiveness of the money we spend on our digital marketing campaigns.  Google Analytics uses cookies to collect this information and this information helps us to improve our websites.

You may stop the transmission of information generated by the cookies about your use of our website to Google, by downloading and installing the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on available here: http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.  

Please see Google's privacy notice for further information.  

Advertising or tracking

We do not accept advertising from any other organisation on our websites.  We do however advertise our own products and services on our websites and you may see adverts for us elsewhere on the internet.  The cookies we use to present you with adverts may be based on the content you visit the most on our websites, so we can let you know about what we think you will be interested in.  The cookies show us where you saw the advert; help us measure the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns; and limit the number of times you see an advert.  We also use cookies to tailor the content of our weekly members' newsletter and the emails we send you so that the content is more relevant to you.

Cookies also help us to identify which of our articles are the most popular and the types of journey visitors have to our websites. We also include links to social networks like Facebook who may subsequently use information about your visit to target advertising to you on their websites.

You can see an explanation of the Google Customer Match Service in the Google Privacy Policy here.

Our main technology partners

We work with the following companies in maintaining and improving our website, getting a better understanding of visitor and customer profiles and ultimately delivering a better experience. A brief description of what they do is found below. If you have any more questions, please do contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Bing | Privacy Policy

We work with Bing Ads to market our products and services. We record any completed transactions which have been referred by Bing Ads using cookies. 

Facebook | Privacy Policy

We work with Facebook to market our products and services on their platform. A pixel is placed on our site that both helps us track completed transactions or site interactions that have been referred from Facebook but also enables us to advertise effectively to such users based on what we know they have expressed an interest in.

On occasions we may use information about our members to promote our services to other Facebook users of a similar profile. Information is provided in a ‘hashed’ format and deleted soon after similar users have been matched. If you do not wish your personal data to be used in this way, please contact preferences@which.co.uk

Google, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Optimise and Doubleclick | Privacy Policy

We work with Google to market our products and services on their Adwords platform. We record any completed transactions that have been referred by Adwords using cookies.

We may also use personal information about our existing customers to create profiles that can be used to tailor our promotions via the Google Customer Match service.  Information that is provided to Google for such purposes would be pseudonomised and would be used only for the purposes of:

identifying prospective new members of a similar profile that use Google Search, YouTube and Gmail; and serving relevant advertisements.

The information we provide to the Google Customer Match service will be deleted once the matching process is complete and it is no longer necessary for compliance with Google policies. If you do not wish your personal data to be used in this way, please contact preferences@which.co.uk.

We use Google Analytics Premium, a web analytics service provided by Google.  Google Analytics Premium uses cookies to help analyse how users use our websites. The information generated by the cookies about your use of our websites and your current IP-address will be transmitted by your browser to and will be stored by Google on servers in the United States and other countries. Google will use this information on our behalf for the purpose of evaluating your use of the website, compiling reports on website activity and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage to us. The IP address collected through Google Analytics will not be associated with any other data held by Google. You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser. You may also stop the transmission of information generated by the cookies about your use of the website and of your IP address to Google, by downloading and installing the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on available here. 

In addition, we use Google's remarketing technology to advertise online via their Adwords search and Doubleclick platforms. In doing so, Google will place or read a unique ad-serving cookie on your computer and will use non-personal information about your browser and your activity on our sites to serve ads on their content and search advertising  networks. For more information about remarketing or to opt-out of the Google/Doubleclick remarketing cookies please click here

We also use the following tools from Google:

Google Tag Manager which is a tool that enables us to effectively add, update and manage marketing, tracking and analytics tags across our site. For more information please visit Google Tag Manager.

Google Optimise enables us to test variations of our website pages or elements within the pages. These tests will usually result in improvements to the website and your experience. For more information please click here.

Pluck | Privacy Policy

Pluck provides the software which allows users to interact with our websites - such as our product review commenting feature. They help manage the software on our behalf so they can tell us related statistics - like how many people have left comments on a certain product.

SessionCam | Privacy Policy

We use the SessionCam customer experience analytics service to help us analyse how visitors use our website. The SessionCam service records, on an anonymous basis, information such as mouse clicks, mouse movements and scrolling activity. We use this information to improve our website, make it more user-friendly and monitor that it is performing correctly. We do not collect through the SessionCam service, or transfer to SessionCam, any personally identifiable information. SessionCam does not create a user profile for the purpose of tracking a user across unrelated web sites.

However If you do not wish to have your site usage recorded at all in this way, you can opt out here. Please note that if you choose to do this, a cookie is set on your browser which is then used by SessionCam to indicate that your visits should not be recorded.

Sizmek | Privacy Policy

We work with a platform called Sizmek to promote our products and services. Sizmek uses data collected from a variety of sources, including cookies on our site and others within their platform, to understand user behaviour from, for example, their web browsing or the apps they use. We use this data to target prospective users with most the relevant advertising and to manage that activity more efficiently.

SLI Systems | Privacy Policy

SLI provide the software for the ‘search’ function on our site. When you visit the search box at the top of our site and put in your search term, they will manage this process. They provide us with all search related data - such as what the most popular search terms are.