What is a cookie?

Cookies are small text files of information automatically downloaded by your computer or mobile phone when you visit our site. These files are stored in your web browser (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer) and requested by our website when you visit us again. Most websites use cookies because, unlike you and me, websites have no memory to keep track of information, such as what pages you spend the most time on, or whether you view the site on a mobile phone or desktop computer.

Still curious? Watch Google's video about cookies. Or check out allaboutcookies.org and youronlinechoices.eu.

Here’s why cookies are good

Small pieces of information can make a big difference to how we design our site for you. Imagine if data gathered by cookies showed us that 80% of Torchbox visitors look at our site on their mobile phone. Insights like that can help us focus our energy on making a better mobile version for you.

Which cookies do we use?

Torchbox cookies (first party)

Our cookies come from four main sources: Google Analytics, Google Optimize, FullStory and Hotjar.

  • Google Analytics is widely used across the web to understand things such as which pages you arrive at, how you navigate around the site, and which kind of device you are using. To do this, Google collects individuals’ anonymised data and stitches it all together to create a big picture. All this data ultimately helps us make improvements to your experience. We feel it's a win-win relationship. Find out more about Google Analytics cookies
  • Google Optimize is used to keep track of your involvement in website experiments. By ‘experiment’ we’re not talking about lab coats and electrodes. In this context, an experiment could be something like an A/B split test. This is where half of the people who visit our site see one webpage and the other half see an alternative version so that we can test which version works best.
  • FullStory records pages visited, links clicked, non-sensitive text entered, and mouse movements in a video which we can play back. This is a powerful tool that helps us see the everyday problems people encounter using our site. Your identity cannot be determined from the data collected, we do not create profiles of your behaviour, and we will never sell this data to third parties. Find out more about the FullStory cookie.
  • Finally, Hotjar shows us the step-by-step path individuals take through our website and lets us know at which points you leave a page. Imagine you click on one of our blog posts and leave before reading to the end – that’s the kind of useful feedback Hotjar gives that helps us figure out what you find interesting and what we need to improve. Find out more about

Other sites’ cookies (third party)

We sometimes connect our site to services like Facebook and Twitter and embed the occasional YouTube video. Like Torchbox, these sites also use cookies, but as you can imagine, we have no control over these third-party cookies.

Take a look at their privacy policies in more detail here:

Why do we use cookies set by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?

In a nutshell, we use some third-party cookies to check how well our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn advertising campaigns are doing and improve their relevance to you. They allow us to show you ads if you have visited our site before and then track important behaviours that are valuable to us such as whether you fill in a contact form.

Here are some links that explain interest-based advertising and how to opt-out:

Finally, we also use Google AdWords. This allows us to show ads that are more relevant to you. We base this on what you are searching for on Google, and web pages that appeared to interest you most when you visited our site in the past. Why? We want you to come back of course.

Want to know the exact cookies we use?

Here’s a handy section highlighting some of the first-party cookies stored on your device by browsing our site. Take a look at what data they collect and why.

Google Analytics cookies

Cookie names:

  • _ga
  • _dc_gtm_UA-112981-1
  •  _dc_gtm_UA-112981-56
  • _gat_UA-112981-1
  • _gat_UA-112981-56
  • __utma
  • __utmb
  • __utmc
  • __utmz
  • __utmx
  • __utmxx

Why we use it:

This tells us which page you arrive at, how you navigate between pages and the device you used.  

We use this information to make improvements to the experience of individual pages and the journey through the site as a whole. For example, by ensuring you are finding what you are looking for easily.

Google Optimize cookies

Cookie name:

  • _gaexp

Why we use it:

Used to record a person's involvement in a website experiment e.g. an A/B test where half of our website users see one webpage, and the other half see an alternative version.

This helps us test that the changes we make to our site are actually making it better.

FullStory cookies

Cookie name:

  • fs_uid

Why we use it:

FullStory records a video of how people use our site. This gives us a clearer picture of the website experience people are having and helps us quickly identify any everyday problems people encounter using our site. 

Hotjar cookies

Cookie name:

  • _hjIncludedInSample

Why we use it:

We use Hotjar to track the step-by-step path you take through the website. It also shows us when you exit a section of the site e.g. when you click on a blog post and then leave before reading to the end.

This helps us figure out what content you like, what needs to be tweaked and what we need to get rid of.

Why are we telling you all this?

Although your data is made anonymous to keep it safe, with all websites there is a risk, however small, that someone will try to maliciously steal information. We believe that cookies pose little threat to your privacy. But ultimately, we understand that you may still want to opt-out and turn off cookies.

How to turn off cookies

To delete or block existing cookies, click the relevant link to the browser you are using and follow the instructions.

It is worth noting that refusing cookies may impact your experience of using our website (which we would love for you to experience at its best). But, it’s entirely up to you.

I have turned cookies off and am having problems

If after changing your browser settings you do experience difficulties in using our website, please get in touch.

What next if I continue without opting out?

By continuing to use our website, we’ll assume you agree to the cookie policy we have talked about above. Simply sit back and enjoy our site.