Cookies and visitor tracking

Regions around the world have introduced regulations that require merchants to obtain a visitor’s informed consent before the merchant can track that visitor on the merchant’s online store. These regulations include limiting the use of browser technologies, including cookies, when the technologies are used for tracking. Cookies used for tracking are referred to as non-essential cookies.

Shopify provides settings and developer tools for merchants who operate in these regions to help them comply with these regulations.

Allowing or limiting non-essential Shopify visitor tracking

You can choose whether your online store allows or limits non-essential cookies.

Steps:

  1. In your Shopify admin, select Online Store > Preferences > Manage Shopify Tracking.
  2. tap the toggle button to select either Allow non-essential tracking or Limit non-essential tracking where required.

Allow non-essential tracking

If you allow non-essential tracking, then Shopify uses non-essential cookies to track visitors.

Limiting non-essential tracking where required

If you limit non-essential tracking where required, then all non-essential cookies that are listed in the Shopify Cookie Policy are downgraded to session cookies. Session cookies, also known as transient cookies, automatically clear themselves when the visitor closes their browser.

Shopify determines when it's required to downgrade non-essential cookies by checking if the visitor is coming from a region that requires consent prior to tracking and the visitor’s preferences. This includes visitors from the European Union (EU). If a visitor withdraws consent, then Shopify will limit tracking of them.

Limiting third-party tracking

Shopify can't automatically block non-essential tracking performed by apps that you have installed or tracking pixels you have placed on your online store. You should review the privacy policies of the apps that you install in your store to determine if they support blocking non-essential tracking where required.

Getting visitor consent allows you to track visitors in regions that require consent before tracking. The most common way of gathering this consent is through “Cookie Banners”. These banners appear at the bottom of most sites and prompt the visitor with the option to accept non-essential cookies for tracking and marketing purposes.

If you are looking to implement your own cookie banner, or use a third-party cookie banner, then make sure that Shopify’s consent tracking API is used for reading and collecting the visitor’s consent. Without this support, Shopify non-essential cookies will continue to be blocked, which has an impact on your analytics and marketing attribution.

Opting out of targeted ads

Anyone can visit the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Opt-Out page or the Network Advertising Initiative’s Opt-Out page to opt out of targeted ads that are served through certain third-party vendors.

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