Assessing the Impact of ITP2.1 and Other Privacy Changes on Your Marketing Programs

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More browsers are offering users control over cookies and limiting advertisers’ access to data. Marketers need to keep up-to-date on these shifts and understand how they affect their campaigns. One such change is ITP2.1. Introduced by Apple in February, it’s the latest iteration of its intelligent tracking prevention technology in Safari. It purges most first-party cookies if a user doesn’t return after seven days and blocks all third-party cookies by default, complicating long-tail measurement in iOS 12.2 and Safari 12.1. Limiting the lifespan of first-party cookies to just seven days is a significant adjustment; prior to ITP2.1, you could rely on a Google Analytics cookie for two years. ITP2.1 will disrupt your ability to track, analyze, measure, target and personalize content for Safari users. It has the potential to impact several of your tactics including Web analytics, A/B testing, personalization, retargeting, data management platforms and attribution. Here’s how:
  • Web analytics will lose accuracy because site visitors will be forgotten if they don’t return within seven days, inflating the number of unique website visitors
  • A/B testing will only have a seven-day window 
  • Personalization and retargeting will be limited to seven days of behavior
  • Data Management Platforms (DMPs) may see an inflated number of mobile devices, exaggerating audience sizes
  • Attribution will be more difficult with a shortened window
  Understanding how this change affects your programs is critical to maintaining accurate, reliable data. We’ve developed a free tool that can help. It allows you to measure how much site traffic comes from Safari via desktop, mobile and tablet and shows the average time between user visits to your sites. It plugs into your Google Analytics account and shows you charts with key information to help you make better optimization decisions:
  • Browser Sessions by Type: Measures how much traffic comes from Safari versus other browsers. The lower the percentage of Safari browser sessions, the less impact ITP2.1 will have.
  • Safari Sessions by Version: Measures the sessions affected by ITP2.1 by indicating those from users on iOS 12.1 & Safari 12.1 versus sessions from users on more outdated versions of iOS and Safari. (Only iOS12.1 & Safari 12.1 are affected by ITP2.1)
  • Days Since Last Session for Safari Users and Safari Days Since Last Session: Pay attention to the “Greater than 7 days” piece of the pie chart, as those will be your visitors impacted by ITP2.1. Safari will forget them if they don’t return within seven days. Take note of those visitors falling into the five to six-day category, too, and strategize ways to draw them back to your site.
  • Safari Sessions by Device Category: Illustrates the number of Safari sessions on mobile, desktop and tablet. The higher the percentage of sessions coming from mobile, the more likely you’ll be impacted by ITP2.1 due to iOS 12.1’s popularity.

Chrome Also Makes Data Privacy Changes

Google, in an effort to be more transparent and allow users to make informed decisions about how to control the use of their data for personalized advertising, also announced changes to Chrome’s cookie tracking. These adjustments mean it’s now easier for users to block or clear third-party cookies in Chrome. Additionally, Google wants to "give users more visibility into the data used to personalize ads and the companies involved in the process." The company outlined one of its new initiatives: "As a first step, for the ads that Google shows on our own properties and those of our publishing partners, we will disclose new information through an open-source browser extension that will work across different browsers. The new information will include the names of other companies that we know were involved in the process that resulted in an ad—for example, ad tech companies that acted as intermediaries between the advertiser and publisher, and companies with ad trackers present in an ad."  

What’s Next

Data privacy changes are coming fast and furious, and ITP2.2 is currently being tested. To learn more about how it will impact first-party cookies, take a look at the Digiday article, “ WTF is Apple’s ITP 2.2 update? ” Then, check out our Chief Services Officer Rick Reinard's article on ITP2.1 and the Future of Data as We Know It.  

We Can Help

Explore our free ITP2.1 Investigator Tool to ensure you’re not losing valuable Safari user data and please contact us with any questions about how ITP2.1 and Chrome’s recent changes impact your marketing programs.