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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

The Impact of Cookie Banner Designs on Cookie Consent Rates

Published: May 25, 2021


Julia Schmitt, Goethe University Frankfurt


With strict consent requirements enforced by multiple privacy laws, websites have to obtain a user’s active consent for cookie usage. Websites typically request consent on cookie banners, but these banners differ across websites. The differences include variations in visual aspects, buttons, texts, and possible user choices. Depending on the user preferences, such cookie banner differences can affect the user choice, and the share of users consenting to a website’s cookie usage. To keep using user data, it is crucial for websites to maximize that consent rate, especially for websites with a business model built around user data. Accordingly, this paper aims to examine how different cookie banner characteristics can affect the consent rate in three field experiments. The results show that different cookie banners can lead to significant changes in consent rates and that choosing the right cookie banner design is crucial for a web-site’s ability to keep using user data.