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What is a Persistent Cookie?

Published October 20, 2022 / Updated November 21, 2023

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Understanding Persistent Cookies

After logging into their email accounts, users often see a prompt asking them whether they want to save their login information to access their email account easily in the future. Once they agree to save their information, users can open their email account without keying in their login information again, and they'll find their account as it was when they last logged in.

This is because of something called a Persistent Cookie. Persistent Cookies have benefits for users and digital marketers. For users, it enables the seamless browsing experience they've come to expect. For digital marketers, it allows them to track their target audience’s online behavior.

What is a Persistent Cookie?

A persistent cookie is a file stored on a user's computer that remembers information, settings, preferences, or sign-on credentials that the user has previously saved. This saves time and creates a more convenient website experience. Webservers set an expiration date on these cookies.

The expiration date is helpful as it allows users to continue having a smooth browsing experience even after closing the browser window and reopening it.

Once the expiration date for the persistent cookie is reached, the webster will either renew it automatically, request your permission for the renewal, or delete it altogether, depending on what options the user picked in the user consent agreement.

Types of Cookies:

There are two types of cookies – Session Cookies and Persistent Cookies.

How are Persistent Cookies Different From Session Cookies?

The most significant difference between persistent and session cookies is the expiration date. Both persistent and session cookies store a user's information, settings, preferences, or sign-on credentials, when the user consents to such information being stored.

However, persistent cookies retain this information even after users close their browsers. A session cookie expires as soon as users close their browser.

This is why session cookies are also known as non-persistent cookies or temporary cookies, owing to the fact that, unlike persistent cookies, their existence on a user's device is temporary.

As users learn more about their rights under privacy regulations, they have raised concerns about the function of persistent cookies.

Persistent cookies require consent before they can be stored on a user's device. However, the consent requirement is often inadequate and unclear. For instance, most persistent cookie consent agreements do mention that a user’s activity will be logged throughout their browsing session. However, the agreements don’t carry any information about these cookies still being active on a user’s device after they’ve logged out or even restarted their browser. This lack of information raises questions over whether the user can give truly informed consent to the installation of cookies.

The GDPR was one of the first data privacy laws that required explicit and informed consent before any cookies could be installed on user devices. Additionally, there has been a growing trend of regulations mandating businesses to collect separate informed consent before installing cookies, elevating the preference of session cookies over persistent cookies owing to their automatic deletion once the browsing session is over.

Persistent Cookies in Marketing

Few elements are as helpful as a persistent cookie for a digital marketer when either designing a new campaign or evaluating the success/failure of a current campaign. One of the most important tools within digital marketing, Google Analytics, is perhaps the best example of how critical persistent cookies are used.

Among other things, a Google Analytics persistent cookie allows digital marketers to precisely know:

  • How long users stay on a page,
  • Which pages they visited,
  • The language they browsed those pages in,
  • Their device’s operating system and screen resolution,
  • Whether the user completed any desired actions (conversions).

This information allows businesses to adjust their goals, targets, and strategies to maximize user engagement.

How Can Securiti Help

Businesses are now facing additional pressure to collect only essential information on their users. Also, third-party password managers have threatened to obscure one of the persistent cookie's most crucial selling points, i.e., separate logins on each page. Moreover, there is the matter of how persistent cookies often continue to monitor users' activity even after they're no longer on the website where they initially consented to the use of the cookie.

Therefore, modern businesses need a reliable Cookie Consent Management solution that ensures appropriately informed consent is collected from every user, before a persistent cookie is stored on his or her device. Securiti prides itself in being a market leader in providing enterprise solutions related to cookie consent thanks to its PrivacyOps framework backed by artificial intelligence and machine-learning-based tools.

Request a demo today to see how Securiti's tools can help your company.

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Anas Baig

Authored by Anas Baig

Anas Baig is a Product Marketing Manager with a proven track record in the cybersecurity industry. He has been a prominent contributor to numerous esteemed publications, including Infosecurity Magazine, CSO Online, Tripwire, Security Affairs, Network Computing, Security Boulevard, and several other renowned cybersecurity blogs.His in-depth knowledge and extensive experience in the industry make him a trusted source for cutting-edge insights and information in the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity.

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