SEO Techniques

ITP – Update Your Tracking

The GDPR earlier this year, saw many sites spamming you with their new updated policies on data, even Google sent out theirs. Some internet browsers followed suit, and Apple had already announced their updates late in 2017 ito the way in which cookies are stored for Safari. We saw most only really switch earlier this year after the GDPR announcement. Apple’s Safari browser then later, in June this year, announced their Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 (ITP for short) which we’ll see start rolling out in the next few weeks.

What does it do?

ITP limits the ability for advertisers and site owners to track users across domains.

Any websites that load things like scripts or images across domains are classified according to a machine-learning algorithm, and cookies that those sites deposit are essentially sectioned off – preventing them from tracking the user 24 hours after they first interacted with the site.

Although Safari announced this, it’s only a matter of time before this rolls out to all browsers.

So what does this mean for you and your campaign tracking? 

As a marketing person, this sounds scary right? Luckily Google came to the rescue and all hope is not lost. According to Chi Hea Cho, a spokesperson for Google, they have updated their own measurement tools in accordance with this announcement, and which are still consistent with the Apple recommendations.

In addition, Google has also sent out an email to AdWords users with the following technical information:

“To help ensure conversions are reported accurately in your AdWords account, we’ll be making three changes, consistent with Apple’s recommendations for ad attribution:

  1. If you have auto-tagging enabled and a Google Analytics tag on your website, we’ll begin to set a new Google Analytics cookie on that site’s domain, which will store information about the ad click that brought a user to your site. If you have linked your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts, the AdWords conversion tracking tag will be able to use that click information.
  2. AdWords will continue to report conversions for users who have recently interacted with Google services and domains.
  3. AdWords will also use statistical modelling to estimate website conversions that could not be measured from Safari, and include them in your AdWords reporting.

The Technical side of what Google has done here, is super interesting. They’ve created a new cookie called _gac, one that conforms to the ITP’s rules, but is still able to track as first-party cookie, therefore circumventing being sectioned. It does still sound like a lot of assumptions are going to be made.

Two of the most important things you could do right now is to link your Adwords & Analytics accounts – if you haven’t yet done so; and also replace all your legacy tracking codes and load Google Tag Manager instead.

As it is early days and we haven’t yet seen the roll-out, or how clever Safari’s machine learning algorithm is in its classification of cookies; nothing is a sure-fire solution at this stage. Monitor your performance and tracking closely. Double check how many of your current audience is browsing from Safari and will be directly affected; and lastly pay extra attention to your remarketing & automation campaigns and their messaging to try to move your product consideration time to less than 30 days if its currently more than that 😉

Let’s hustle.

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