WTF is ITPS?

Quick disclaimer, at the time of writing and publishing ITP2.1 is still in beta the live version may change something we've covered here.

With that out the way let’s get into the fun stuff. ITP2.1 (or it's less snazzy name Intelligent Tracking Prevention v2.1) is the latest privacy update. It's currently in beta but it's widely expected to reach full release status soon.

Who does this effect?

ITP is an Apple thing, so naturally, Safari in all its forms will soon have ITP2.1, Firefox will also be following suit (probably).

Latest figures have Safari at around 6.49% market share and Firefox at 9.58% on desktop alone (via Statista) and with Safari having a big chunk of the mobile market due to iPhones, it's a significant number of historically valuable audiences that will soon be playing under ITP2.1 rules.

Okay great, so why do we care?

The most important point about ITP2.1 is that is means client-side cookies (so those set with JavaScript to document.cookie, which is the typical method used to track things) will be capped to have a 7-day lifetime. This means if somebody visits a website and then comes back 8 days later analytics systems will think they're a brand-new user.

Is this something else I need to be compliant to?

No. ITP is not a legal standing or even a requirement to play with Apple/Firefox- it's a technological function of browsers. There's nothing to do on your part; these browsers will simply work by these rules regardless of what your tracking is trying to do.

What do I need to be aware of?

This isn't a big deal despite some in the digital marketing space freaking out about it for most businesses. If you run a website where you're reliant of repeat users and thus optimise against these users then you're still probably okay. Those at risk are websites that need repeat users but where users don't return at least once every seven days.

If you're not one of those businesses, you're going to be seeing an increase in the percentage of visitors that are "new" from Safari / Firefox browsers which probably isn't a huge deal.

What about Remarketing?

Remarketing is the big area that threatens to be affected by this however once they see an ad or go back to your site, they'll have the 7-day timeout refreshed. In essence, this is only an issue if your display campaigns aren't showing to your audience at least once every seven days.

What about Split-Testing?

Pretty much the same as everything else, so long as they're exposed once every seven days it's fine. As an additional, both Optimizely and VWO make use of local storage for tracking which would not be affected by ITP2.1. Google Optimize does not use local storage so if your users are regularly returning less often than once every seven days you might have an issue!

Affiliate marketing is the biggest area that looks to be affected as many affiliate conversions do take place more than 7 days after the initial interaction.

Do we have any solution?

Kinda. There's an ethical question here as to if working around ITP2.1 is okay or not, but there are a few technical solutions that don't rely on client-side cookies.

In general, the changes coming from ITP2.1 probably aren’t the end of the world but there are cases where it could be a problem for you. If you have any concerns, we can help you figure out if it's a problem and what we can do to help just drop us an email on analytics@superdream.com or call us on +44 (0)1527 573 770 / +61 (0)73844 6938 and we'll go from there!

Posted by:

Michael Chapman

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