Safari ITP 2.1 and heads up about some seriously weird tracking
Safari has made quite a few changes recently, which will impact your analytics tracking and marketing audiences. This is a quick post to alert you about the changes, what can be done about them, and to see if you’ve been impacted.
What has changed:
Safari browser has been making updates to restrict how cookies can be set and for how long. This started last year with limiting the use of 3rd party cookies known as ITP (intelligent tracking prevention). This year safari released a new version of ITP which further limits first party cookies set on the browser to have a max expiry of 7 days.
This means that if a user is inactive for a 7-day period, their cookies will be discarded.
The Impact is limited to new versions of Safari on macOS v12.1 and mobile iOS 12.2 but it will increasingly become more noticeable as users update to newer versions.
Your marketing tools (like Google Analytics) will likely report more Users (because a user that has not visited for more than 7 days will be recorded as a new user, instead of a second session by the same user). This will also result in less accurate attribution of marketing channels for products and services with longer customer journeys and remarketing audience.
image credits: https://www.adpushup.com/blog/intelligent-tracking-prevention-apple-itp-2-1/
There haven’t been clean workarounds yet. One way to extend the window, is to use things like local storage to store data or set cookies on server side. Any workarounds are likely temporary as this is part of an escalating focus on privacy by Apple. More restrictions are expected to be coming soon.
How to see impact:
Log in to google analytics and look at Users and New User before and after 25 March 2019 for Safari Browser. This can be done using this Google Analytics segment. Or using this Data Studio report (just select the property you want to review).
I am still monitoring this to fully understand impact but please let me know if you notice anything odd or have any questions.
Special thanks to Rick Dronkers for sharing feedback on drafts of this post.