Up, Down, or on the side: Can a website increase its opt-in rate by moving its cookie banner?
Businesses often struggle with how to display cookie banners given the complexities of conveying information to individuals that may lack technical expertise, and “banner fatigue” – a term which describes the reality that consumers presented with pop-ups and cookie banners across different websites may not spend time to read each banner before attempting to close the banner. Businesses that choose to display a cookie banner that seeks opt-in consent also struggle with how to encourage consumers to interact with the cookie banner in order to gain an affirmative understanding of the consumer’s preferences in relation to cookies.
There is relatively little publicly available empirical data concerning website visitor’s interactions with cookie banners. The little data that does exist, however, indicates that user acceptance rates are significantly impacted by the position of a cookie banner on a screen. For example, in one study researchers randomly placed the same opt-in consent cookie banner at the top, the top-left, the top-right, the bottom, the bottom-left, and the bottom-right of a website and then observed how 14,135 website visitors interacted with the banner. They found that when the banner was placed in a “bar” at the top of the page approximately 1.8% of visitors accepted cookies. When the same banner was placed on the bottom-left of the screen the acceptance rate increased to 18.4%. While the researchers did not conduct testing to confirm the cause of the discrepancy, they speculated that the bottom-left placement was more likely to cover the main content of a website thus prompting consumer interaction; they also speculated that many website visitors were accustomed to the left-to-right directionality of Latin script.
 Christine Utz, Martin Degeling, Sascha Fahl, Florian Schaub, and Thorsten Holz, 2019, (Un)informed Consent: Studying GDPR Consent Notices in the Field.