Understanding the impact of ITP 2.2 on advertisers

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Today, it is difficult, if not impossible, for an advertiser who wishes to optimize his media campaigns to go beyond the stage of data collection on the internet.

However, even though this collection is intended to improve the user experience, they are reluctant to share their data. Mistrust has set in. And for good reason, testimonies of theft and data hacking are not lacking on the internet, and the Facebook scandal of 2018, did nothing to remedy it. And it was far from being the only one (we remember the cyber-attack that Uber was a victim in 2017).

WHO SAYS MISTRUST, SAID ATTEMPT OF PROTECTION

According to the report “Personal data and trust: what strategies for citizens-consumers in 2017? ” of the Chair Values and Policies of Personal Information, 51% of Internet users would be more cautious than a few years ago: by refusing to share their geolocation (61% of them) or by configuring their social network settings (45%). A large number of add-ons have also appeared in internet browsers limiting access to certain data.

INTELLIGENT TRACKING PREVENTION

In this context, in September 2017, Apple launched its first program of protection against tracking: “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” (ITP 1.0). This system, integrated into the Safari browser, aims to protect users of Apple products, facing the collection of data made via cookies.

By launching this project, Apple has sought to restore some form of trust with users of its browser by supporting them in their approach of protection of their personal data. If this seems to have reassured them, advertisers and advertising agencies have, on the contrary, approached this novelty with some fears.

ITP 1.0 aimed to reduce the lifespan of third-party cookies to 24 hours on Safari browsers, today accounting for just over 20 % of worldwide mobile market share (nearly 30% en France).

Let’s remember that third-party cookies are associated with a domain name different from the site that the user visits, unlike first party cookies that are associated with the same domain. These cookies are intended to recognize a user on any website and then offer him targeted advertising campaigns adapted to him.

SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS FOR ADVERTISERS

This first phase of ITP thus began to complicate the task of analysts who had access to less data on users. Then Apple launched the second version, ITP 2.0., With three main impacts:

  • The measure of post-view attribution (when the user is exposed to advertising without generating a click) has become less accurate.
  • Synchronization capabilities with programmatic and retargeting platforms (users becoming more difficult to track) have diminished. As the operating time of the data is shortened, the performance is impacted.
  • Cross-domain capping (aimed at controlling the number of impressions of the same advertisement to a user) based on the use of third-party cookies is less efficient

THE “FAKE” FIRST COOKIES IN THE LINE OF SIGHT

Today, these evolutions, takes all the codes of its predecessor but add a new limitation clearly non-negligible: the lifetime of first party cookies is thus reduced now to 7 days.

Is this the case for all 1st cookies?

No, because even if it’s not always clear for everyone, there are two types of 1st cookies:

  • The “fake” 1st party cookies: those added in Javascript on the domain of the site even if the Javascript emanates from another domain.
  • The cookies added and treated integrally in HTTPS thanks to a delegation of domain in 1st party via a CNAME (an adding of cookie and an integral treatment in HTTPS)

It is therefore the “fake” 1st cookies which are thus targeted. Why this targeting?

In response to ITP 1.0, there has been a resurgence of these, generated by the platforms, to monitor performance.

Faced with this resurgence, a problem has emerged for advertisers: the increase in 1st cookies could clearly impact the good functioning of their websites. Indeed, the number of first cookies being limited by the browser, it may happen that, in this case Safari, deletes some of them, thus generating inappropriate and unpredictable behavior within the site (i.e. a tracking that does not activate, a cart that disappears, a session that stops).

In addition, the ITP does not use a blocking list (as is the case for Adblockers with their blacklist). So there is no way to go “whitelist”, including through a payment. The treatment is identical for everyone, especially for the most important advertising agencies of the area, nobody can escape it.

Thus, advertisers or agencies relying on players, like most free analytics tools, not managing domain delegation and relying on “fake” 1st cookies, will be largely impacted on the Safari environment. The only solution that would be interesting to set up is to go through a CNAME.

WHAT ABOUT ITP 2.2? 

Always in the perspective of strengthening the ITP, Safari tackles in its next update the tracking via link decoration in order to limit the cross-site tracking deployed by large web companies.

Its goal? Apply an even more restrictive treatment to “pseudo-First Party” cookies created via this method and prevent companies from using solutions to workaround the “anti-tracking” feature of Safari allowing them to follow users on a permanent basis.

Indeed, ITP 2.2 significantly reduces the window for tracking workarounds to 24 hours. Companies such as Facebook and Google will no longer be able to measure traffic and attribute sales to their campaigns 24 hours after the interaction. 

As mentioned, and to be more precise, this update concerns companies using “Links decoration”. Specifically, click-through links that contains an identifier parameter (eg gclid / fbid) that is integrated on the destination site in a “pseudo-First Party” cookie. When the advertiser’s website loads, the Facebook pixel or the google tag will automatically read the cookie, pass this information to the platform and follow the user through his journey on the different domains through the different devices used: it’s the cross-domain tracking.

Limiting this monitoring window to 24 hours, theoretically present for advertisers, a problem of attribution because they can no longer follow the user on journeys that are sometimes spread over a much longer period.

However, in practice, if they have technological solutions that retain the IDs, this update will not present any issue.

A COLLECTION ALLOWING THE PROTECTION OF PRIVACY

These evolutions of the ITP only strengthen Eulerian in its technological choices and its approach to privilege the quality of the collection in 1st Party. 

Furthermore, concerning the version 2.2, ids partners are stored on the server side in Eulerian and can be retroceded via our TMS, in server-to-server or datafeed.

In all these cases, these changes will therefore have no impact on its customers side.

Privilege the true 1st cookie has always been a real choice. This confirms that our long-term vision to better support our advertisers and their customers is accurate.

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Team Eulerian
Team Eulerian
The best of us - a team of unusual, creative minds sharing their particular vision of the Data universe. The Eulerian team combines both expertise and innovation to come up with original content for our blog.
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