Unless you are deeply engaged in digital marketing or analytics it is unlikely that you would have heard about ITP 2.1 The acronym ITP stands for Intelligent Tracking Prevention and it is built into the latest versions Apple’s Safari browser and the latest update has big consequences to your tracking and marketing.

This technology actively prevents tools such as Google Analytics from tracking users for periods longer than 7 days. In essence, your users will be forgotten about if they don’t return to your website within 7 days from their last visit.

So, what does this actually mean?

Well, if your company is trying to send remarketing campaigns or to track how users engage with your brand over time, then you have an upper limit of 7 days for all your Mac and iOS users who use the Safari browser.

How big an impact is this likely to be?

We sampled 40 of our clients, we found that on average, 35% of their users use the Safari browser, with the impact being even higher on mobile and tablet devices.

On mobile devices, there was an average of 56% of users who use the Safari browser.

On tablet devices, these numbers grow larger, with an average of 70% of users using Safari.

The bit impact of ITP is on returning users who have not returned to the site for more than 7 days. Our study reflects that the impact ranges between 1% up to 12% depending on the client.

If you are running remarketing campaigns, then this is likely to be a big impact on the effectiveness of this marketing in reaching these users.

What will be the effect?

You will see a rise in new users coming from Safari users and a decrease in the days since the last session and sessions per user.

Is it just Google Analytics that is impacted?

No, most web analytics and tracking technologies that are used are impacted by this change.

Is there anything that I can do?

Yes there are techniques that can fix this however each of them requires significant technical work.

Simo Ahava has written a very detailed blog post on the topic that covers the options that are available. https://www.simoahava.com/analytics/itp-2-1-and-web-analytics/

Why has Apple done this?

Apple has repeatedly demonstrated its staunch position on privacy with a key example being its refusal to comply with FBI directives to circumvent the encryption in its iPhone during 2015 and 20161. Later Tim Cook the CEO of Apple in his speech in 2018 to the European Union Privacy commission stated Apple’s position strongly and clearly with “Our own information, from the every day to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency.” and later “At Apple, respect for privacy—and a healthy suspicion of authority—have always been in our bloodstream.”2

In its recent blog post on ITP 2.1 Apple has made the following statement “Apple believes that privacy is a fundamental human right and that users should not be tracked across the web without their knowledge or their consent.”3

Whilst a more cynical view could equally hold that Apple is directly seeking to compete for public perception to be the good guy in the battle for privacy against its competitors such as Google. It must not be forgotten that Google has products that directly compete with Apple’s.

One way or another Apple’s position indicates that it is likely that this will be an increasing problem going forward.

Firefox appears to be following Apple’s lead and now appears set to implement something similar in the near future.4

Panalysis can help.

If you are concerned about this topic and the impact on your business, please contact us. We can undertake an impact assessment and help you to select and implement alternative approaches to reduce the effect of ITP 2.1.