Setting the Scene: What Is ITP?
It’s something every American has experienced: You’re chatting with a friend at lunch about how you broke your sunglasses over the weekend and you’re dying for a new pair. Before you even finish eating, you see it: an ad for polarized sunglasses right on your Facebook Newsfeed.
For many consumers, it can feel like advertisers know more about us than our closest friends and family. But thanks to Apple’s newest iOS update, the age of the all-knowing advertiser may soon come to an end.
In 2017, Apple announced a new feature of iOS: Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP). Summarized, ITP limits the ability of advertisers to track users across multiple domains. An algorithm sections off websites that load things like scripts or images and prevents them from tracking a user 24 hours after they leave the website. It does this by purging cookies 30 days after they are placed and limiting first parties from using those cookies after a day has passed.
In the most recent update, ITP 2.3, Apple eliminated workarounds that advertisers had been using. Rather than placing tracking information in a cookie, advertisers began to decorate their URLs and store information about consumers in local data. The new update effectively limits these workaround to only seven days.
Apple users are automatically opted-in to ITP. If you want to opt-out, you’ll have to turn it off manually on your device. The question then becomes: Should I turn it off?
The answer is complicated. Cookies allow advertisers and website owners to see your online activity. By placing cookies, advertisers may be able to see what website you visited before you visited their website, and which you went to after you left. It may also help them identify who you are on social media.
However, this information is what keeps your ads relevant. Remember the old days of the internet, when you constantly were served ads for cat food (and you didn’t have a cat)? Turning off ITP becomes a personal decision. Limit advertisers’ ability to see their online activity, or receive more relevant advertisements?
ITP limits businesses’ ability to track people who visit their websites, just as it limits advertisers. However, ITP may leave small businesses at a disadvantage.
Smaller businesses, especially those with long sales processes that take more than 30 days may struggle to reach potential customers after the cookie is purged.
If you’re a small business or a business that relies on a longer sales cycle, contact your advertising agency or vendors to learn what steps they are taking to mitigate problems caused by ITP. (Or you can see how Presh is tackling it.)
Large companies with a huge online presence (like Amazon or Facebook) don’t need to worry as much about the long-term status of their cookies. ITP only purges cookies from third-party use after 30 days, and for sites like Facebook whose users visit every day, it isn’t as much of a concern.
Google and Facebook are two companies that profit from third-party cookies. ITP originally posed a threat to the way they do business because it cut out Safari users, which make up about 20% of all internet users. Now, ITP affects all Apple users, regardless of which browser they use. That is a big deal because 64% of Americans own an Apple device.
Facebook released a reminder to all of its users that they have a choice about how their information is used on Facebook back when ITP was first announced.
Now, Facebook is expecting a large impact on Audience Network, a functionality primarily used by streamers to monetize their content. Facebook has also released information for their partners, urging them to create
a new ad account dedicated to running app install ad campaigns for iOS 14 users.
Google Analytics and Adwords use third-party cookies to report on the effectiveness of ads and websites. Recently, Google updated its auto-tagging process by placing new Google Analytics cookies on sites that have it enabled. This cookie will continue to store information about ads that bring users to the website and can be used by AdWords for click information.
AdWords will also use statistical modeling to estimate website conversions that couldn’t be tracked and include them in AdWords reports.
Presh Marketing Solutions is dedicated to staying on the front-line of advertising news. We have developed strategies for our clients to avoid any problems caused by ITP that may affect their advertising.
As of now, we expect little disruption for our clients. Very few IT professionals use Apple devices at work. However, we will continue to keep our thumb on the issue and update our clients and the community as Apple releases new information.