Safari's new "Intelligent Tracking Prevention" – What does this mean for marketers?

With the release of the iPhone 8, the new operating system of Apple, iOS 11 and its browser, Safari 11 on the desktop, cause a stir among advertisers and specialists marketing. Not for their new design or ease of use, but for their launch of "Intelligent Tracking Prevention" – a feature that would limit the ability of website owners to track users across domains. But what exactly does this mean, and how can marketers best prepare for it? Let's take a closer look:

What is Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) actually doing?

In a nutshell, ITP limits the ability for advertisers and site owners to track users across domains. Any website that loads things like scripts or images on multiple domains is categorized according to an automatic learning algorithm, and the cookies that these sites file are essentially separate, preventing them from following the user 24 hours after their first interaction with the site. Why 24 hours? The cookie is stored in the system in case the user wants to use his or her login information from a domain on a separate service – for example, log in to a service with the help of your information d & Facebook or Google identification.

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Once the cookie is partitioned, it stays there for up to 30 days. If the user has not interacted with this site after 30 days, the cookie is purged.

What does this mean for advertisers?

Currently, ITP is only enabled for Safari desktop and mobile versions. According to Statcounter from August 2017, Safari holds just over 20% of the desktop browser market – but up to 58% of the iPad tablet market (Android mobile devices do not support Safari). This may not seem like much compared to Firefox or Chrome, but it actually represents millions of users. And, as privacy issues increase, advertisers and marketers can expect this type of technology to spread across all popular browsers and devices.

The question then is what does this really mean for advertising – especially platforms like Google AdWords?

Google responded to the information tracking monitoring initiative by changing the way it captures and reports conversions in AdWords. According to Apple's own recommendations, which recommend "server-side storage for assigning impressions of ads on your website" and that "[l] ink decoration (fill links with information) [be] used to transmit attribution information in navigations ".

According to Chi Hea Cho, Google spokesperson, "[w] updates our measurement tools, in accordance with Apple's recommendations on the attribution of ads, to help our customers to accurately measure clicks and conversions.These changes are designed to work on all browsers, but are adapted to the new settings introduced by Apple.Our goal is to limit interruptions of the experience of our users and to preserve the ability of our partners to evaluate their investments in digital advertising As always, giving users the choice and control of their data and their use is a priority for us. "

To this end, Google also sent an e-mail to AdWords users with the following technical details:

To ensure accurate conversions in your AdWords account, we will make three changes, in accordance with Apple's recommendations regarding the attribution of ads:

  1. If auto-tagging is enabled and a Google Analytics tag is added to your website, a new Google Analytics cookie is created on the domain of that site. It contains information about the click on the ad that brought a user. on your site If you've linked your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts, the AdWords Conversion Tracking tag will be able to use this click information.
  2. AdWords will continue to report conversions for users who have recently interacted with Google services and domains.
  3. AdWords also uses statistical modeling to estimate web site conversions that could not be measured from Safari and includes them in your AdWords reports.

To facilitate these changes, Google Analytics has created a new cookie type, named _gac that extends Google Analytics tracking to include AdWords conversions. When auto-tagging is enabled, the cookie is used to store the details of the click on the ads. At the present time, the cookie is sent by – making it a third-party cookie and one of the types that the Apple machine learning process could in turn segment and separate.

With _gac the cookie is set instead on the advertiser's domain and thus becomes a first-party cookie – compliant with the rules and recommendations of ITP. This means that all the ad data associated with that particular user will continue to be sent for the conversion report and attribution.

For example, if you've linked your AdWords and Google Analytics campaigns, like most users, you will not see any changes and will continue to save conversion data from Safari users. Those who have not noticed will notice that Google records conversion activity only in the first 24-hour period.

How can marketers be prepared?

The most important passage that affects reporting and tracking will be the migration of third-party cookies to proprietary cookies. Yet even proprietary cookies are not a foolproof solution since no one really knows how Safari's machine learning processes will identify them, and if human ingenuity will bypass these changes and continue to track them. users as she has done in the past. past.

If you work with a vendor who uses their own form of reporting and measurement, ask them what steps they have put in place to mitigate issues related to the potentially lower quality of user data of Safari. It is important to note that there will likely be changes and changes in the performance data collected over the coming weeks and months – so avoid hasty decisions until things get better. regulate.

Of course, the elephant always present in the room is the question of the effectiveness of campaigns now that this type of remarketing has actually been cut or strictly limited. What happens when users view products on multiple devices but wait more than 30 days before buying? The data you collect in these cases simply will not reflect exactly what is really happening.

AdWeek joined the fray, expressing concern for Apple and others about how this shift has affected business models and the nature of the Internet as a whole. They write:

The modern Internet infrastructure depends on consistent and generally applicable standards for cookies, so that digital businesses can innovate to create personalized content, services and advertising for users and memorize their visits. The Safari movement of Apple goes against these standards and replaces them with a set of changing rules that will hurt the user experience and sabotage the business model of the company. ;Internet.

We strongly encourage Apple to rethink its plan to impose its own cookie standards and risk disrupting the valuable digital advertising ecosystem that funds much of today's digital content and services.

Even Forbes has shown that small and medium-sized businesses, especially in the areas of retargeting and demand, will see a significant negative impact, while sites that users visit daily, such as Amazon and Facebook, will gain a great deal . Advertising inventory prices on Safari browsers are reduced.

The best thing you can do now is to let the digital dust settle and then create a plan that goes beyond simply collecting and using the data you receive. Facebook and Amazon are great, two-way social channels that are extremely lucrative for brands looking to build consumer relationships and brand awareness. Marketers may find that their campaign actions change based on the data they can collect and extrapolate to Safari users, rather than focusing on what they can not to have.

But back to our users. Are your ads and data tracking practices affected by these changes and what changes are made to your organization? Do you think that Apple is making a smart decision, or are they damaging the economic base of the Internet itself? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

About the authors: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling writing, easy-to-use design, and intelligent analytic analysis. Learn more about and download today your free copy update and conversion checklist!

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