Apple’s ITP2 Has Arrived. Here’s What You Can Do About It.

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Andrew Sandoval, director of biddable media at The Media Kitchen.

The reviews are in, and ITP2 is the sequel that marketers hoped would never come.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 is the recent Apple initiative that throws a major kink into mobile conversions. It’s already despised by some marketers, but how much exactly depends on their reliance on iOS and the Safari browser.

Months after it went into effect, I’ve found that ITP2 still elicits blank stares from some clients. Others, meanwhile, already see a significant disruption to their measurement and campaigns.

I advise both the aloof and the engaged to skip the hand-wringing. Instead, let’s focus on workarounds that will help limit ITP2’s effects.

How will it affect me?

Apple introduced ITP1 in 2017 to protect consumer privacy. It created a 24-hour window during which websites could still use cookies to track consumers on mobile. After that, the cookies expired.

ITP2, included in the fall 2018 iOS 12 update, dispenses with that time limit, putting the kibosh on workarounds that marketers had created.

Based on my conversations, marketers have three primary concerns about ITP2.

First, a significant amount of mobile traffic comes from Safari. This could vary depending on the client, but for some, the impact on Safari is dramatic. Although its overall global share hovers at around 13.9%, compared to Google Chrome’s 65.3%, Safari’s mobile share is 50%.

Second, ITP2 affects multitouch attribution (MTA) efforts. If you suddenly black out up to 50% of your mobile browsing data, it’s not so accurate anymore. MTA often carries a significant price tag, so this loss of coverage and confidence is a major concern for marketers.

And finally, ITP2 limits the pool of potential remarketing targets. Since remarketing is a cost-effective and high-conversion tactic, if measured remarketing conversions suffer, that can have an outsized effect on performance reporting.

What marketers can do

Marketers won’t love ITP2, but they can learn to live with it. I see several ways to protect their marketing plans.

They must first understand how Safari traffic impacts their business by reviewing their site analytics to determine how traffic patterns and conversions are declining across devices. This will give marketers an idea of the potential impact of ITP2 and help them prioritize their next steps.

Marketers can also limit gateway tracking and redirects. Oftentimes, third-party tools create URLs that redirect users to final landing pages. During the redirect, a third-party cookie is dropped. With ITP2, the cookie would be rejected.

Since cookies are endangered, marketers should look beyond cookie-based options, toward in-app, email and social solutions.

They can also work with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, if applicable. This lets them leverage Google’s first-party conversion tracking, so they don’t rely on third-party tracking.

And finally, if they’re working with multitouch attribution partners, marketers must be up to date with their partners’ latest solutions. These products have evolved over the past few years to address changing data access and privacy policies, including the sunsetting of DoubleClick Campaign Manager’s ID sharing.

Marketers operate in a dynamic environment, so ITP2 is one change among many. While ITP2 affects some more than others, it’s a net loss for most.

Though it’s tempting to bemoan Apple’s policy, the only worthwhile way to engage with ITP2 is to find pragmatic ways to reduce its effect.

Follow The Media Kitchen (@themediakitchen) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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  1. Yes, Andrew! This has HUGE implications for some clients, but certainly impacts them all. If you are not thinking about this, you should be. In certain cases we are seeing 30% of the audience that are no longer being engaged with, simply because people are opting out of Safari in targeting in platforms because the measurement piece is not there. Thank you for this article as it needed to be brought to life.

  2. There are some clean solutions for Safari targeting/measurement that both work regardless of browser restrictions and happen to fall in line with the industry’s shift toward advertiser-owned data. Happy to discuss further. Feel free to reach out.