Sudha Gupta

Sr. Internet Marketing Consultant, Analytics

Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention Feature: What It Means for Marketers

Many marketers depend on cookies to retarget customers and track cross-site browsing data. To be able to report on campaign effectiveness, marketers need to capture users’ journeys and conversions for a period of time through that data. Recently, Apple released a feature that may limit marketers' abilities to target users via cookies.

With the release of its new iOS11 and macOS High Sierra launch in September 2017, Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) for Safari users. Through this release, the first-party cookies that third-party ad engines use for conversion tracking and attribution will automatically be blocked and removed after 24 hours. This means that no conversion will be recorded by the ad engines if the user converts more than 24 hours after clicking on an ad.

Although only 14.9% of internet users currently have Apple's default browser, Safari, experts anticipate the user base will significantly increase with the most recent release of new phone models using iOS11, which defaults to Safari. That growing portion of the population will be unreachable to marketers seeking to retarget customers effectively through online advertising campaigns.

Bing and Google have released solutions that can help marketers bypass the technical limitations introduced by this new policy. Here are the updates you should know:

Google's ITP Solution

Google responded to the ITP announcement by releasing a Conversion Linker Tag in Google Tag Manager (GTM). This will allow AdWords tags and DoubleClick Floodlights to exclusively use first-party cookies to accurately track and attribute conversions with the existing GTM tags, avoiding the Safari ITP.

In order to use this solution, marketers can deploy the Conversion Linker Tag through GTM on all pages of their website or reach out to their agency to do so. Note that it is not required to re-tag existing AdWords and Floodlights.

For non-GTM users, Gtag.js, Google's new universal framework to streamline tagging, is also updated with this same functionality. To use this solution, marketers should retag and update all existing AdWords and Floodlights with the gtag version.

Bing's ITP Solution

Bing recently announced its recommended solution for Bing Universal Event Tracking (UET) conversion tags. It will require enabling Microsoft Click ID (MSCLKID) auto-tagging for all Bing campaigns and associated landing page URLs. After detecting the MSCLKID in the landing page URL, the Bing UET will set the appropriate cookie to track the clicks, similarly to Google’s fix. To use this solution, marketers should enable MSCLKID auto-tagging for all Bing campaigns and landing page URL templates.

These solutions by Google and Bing are important for marketers to overcome the new obstacle of reaching Safari users. Rise is able to help conduct a marketing infrastructure audit and recommend the best approach to ensure this update does not have any negative implications for marketers. For questions about this update and our solution strategy, reach out to Rise.

01/12/2018 at 07:18

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