We use, and allow certain other companies to use, cookies, web beacons and other similar technologies on our sites, applications and communications. We do this to understand your use of our services, improve your user experience, enable personalized features and content, optimize our advertising and marketing and to enable third party advertising companies to assist us in serving you advertisements specific to your interests across the internet. The technologies we use do not collect any information which directly identifies you in the real world, such as your name, email address, address or phone number.
What Are ‘Cookies?’
A cookie is a small text file that we, and in certain circumstances third parties, place on your browser (for example, Internet Explorer or Safari) when you visit our sites or open some of our emails. Cookies are useful in enabling us to better serve you because, among other things, they allow us to recognize you each time you re-visit one of our sites. The entity that places cookies on your browser can then read the information on the cookie that it set.
Cookies are typically classified as either “session cookies” which do not stay on your device after you close your browser or “persistent cookies” which will usually remain on your device until you delete them or they expire.
Different cookies are used to perform different functions which we explain below. A visit to any of our sites could generate the following types of cookie:
Site Performance Cookies
The information collected from these types of cookies can be used in conjunction with other information we or our third-party partners hold in order to record specific browsing information (for example, regarding the way visitors arrive at our sites, pages viewed, options selected, information entered and the path taken through our sites). The data collected will generally be aggregated to provide trends and usage patterns for business analysis, site/platform improvement and performance metrics and to inform our advertising and marketing strategies. Our cookies, or the resulting analysis, can also be shared with our business partners. We also receive similar information about visitors to the sites of our group companies and other partners.
Cookies can also be linked with other information we hold or presume about you for these purposes. For example, if you are a registered user or provide us with your name, email address, social media log-in details or other contact information (e.g. by entering a competition or signing up to our newsletter) or interact with our email communications (e.g. by clicking on links within the emails), this information can be linked with your browsing activity across all your devices to tailor content, services, advertising and offers for you.
We also obtain information from third party service providers such as demographics and interest categories created from a combination of sources that permit us to provide you with more relevant and useful content, communications and advertising. This information does not identify you personally.
Third Party Advertising Cookies
We partner with advertisers, ad network providers and ad serving companies to place cookies on our sites to allow them to show you advertisements both on and off our sites that are more relevant and useful to you, limit the number of times you see a particular ad and to customize ads. We do not share any information with these third parties that will directly identify you in the real world, such as your name, email address, address or phone number. However, these third parties can assume that users who interact with or click on a personalized advertisement or content are part of the group that the advertisement or content is directed towards. The third parties that generate these cookies have their own privacy policies and we have no access to read or write these cookies.
Social Media Cookies
How We and Third Parties Use Web Beacons
We use and permit selected third parties to use web beacons (usually in combination with cookies) to compile aggregate information about your site usage and your interaction with email and other communications to measure performance and to provide content and advertisements that are more relevant to you. A web beacon (also called a web bug, clear GIF or pixel tag) can be embedded in online content, videos and emails, and allows a server to read certain types of information from your device, to know when you have viewed the beacon and the IP address of your device. The type of information collected includes, but is not limited to, information relating to advertising responses, page views, promotion views and purchases made. We will include web beacons in certain promotional email messages and newsletters to determine whether the messages have been opened or acted upon and whether our mailing tools are working correctly. The web beacons can be used to recognize cookies generated by third parties and inform us and third parties of which advertisement or link brought you to our site, allowing us to monitor the efficacy of our business relationships with third parties.
If you do not want your browser to accept cookies and use them in the ways described above, you can change your browser settings. You can also delete existing cookies from your browser. However, blocking all cookies will affect your web experience and can result in parts of our sites not functioning properly. Certain cookies are designed to help save you time by, for example, remembering your contact details when you place an order.
Alternatively, you can turn off third party cookies relating to interest-based advertising by visiting www.youronlinechoices.eu. However, this will not opt you out of receiving advertisements altogether – it simply means that the ads will not be targeted to you. Please note that there are many more networks listed on this site than we use on our sites.
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. For Google Analytics Advertising Features, you can opt-out through Google Ads Settings or by visiting the Network Advertising Initiative opt out page. You can find more information about how Google uses information from our sites here.
As web beacons are the same as any other content request included in the architecture of a website page, you cannot opt out or refuse them. However, you are able to disable web beacons in email messages by not downloading images contained in messages you receive (this feature varies depending on the email software used on your personal computer). However, doing this will not always disable a web beacon or other tracking technologies in the email message due to specific email software capabilities. For more information about this, please refer to the information provided by your email software or service provider. Web beacons can also be rendered ineffective in certain circumstances by opting out of cookies or amending your cookie settings in your browser. Further details on web beacons, and how to manage them, can be found here: www.allaboutcookies.org/faqs/beacons.html