Apple rocked the website world this past June. Their announcement that the upcoming version of Safari will block third-party ad trackers (AKA AdWords) from following users shook the marketing world. But why?
Well, put simply, that makes ad targeting harder. Apple Senior VP Craig Federighi described the upgrade as a move to protect privacy. Apple calls it “intelligent tracking prevention.”
Unfortunately, for marketers, it sounded like a nightmare in the making.
AdWords: Why Do They Matter?
Regularly used for retargeting, AdWords uses a person’s browsing data to target them more effectively. While Apple’s move doesn’t take down the ads themselves, it does take away the way those ads research their markets.
Right now, Google captures this data using cookies. Tracking users up to 30 days after a user visits a website, it reports on their behavior. With intelligent tracking prevention (ITP), this time shortens drastically – down to a mere 24 hours.
These targeted ads find customers right when they’re searching for you – so what happens when that information disappears?
Enter Google’s New Method
In September, Google announced their response to this market disruption. A Google Analytics cookie will continue capturing the data needed, but all while conforming to ITP standards.
Google’s changes will work for all browsers, but take place at the same time as Apple’s ITP release. For marketers using linked Google Analytics and AdWords accounts, you won’t see any change. Conversions will be reported the same as before, but now use the new cookie.
If your accounts aren’t linked, it’s not quite as simple. You’ll still get the data within the 24-hour limit, but after that it becomes an educated guess. Google AdWords will use modeling based on historical conversions for its records.
What Makes It ITP Compliant?
You’re probably wondering how this new cookie works when the old cookies don’t.
In simple terms, the old Analytics cookie existed on the Googleleadservices.com domain. Since it rested on a separate domain from the advertiser, Safari saw it as a third-party tracker and shut it down.
The new cookie lives on the advertiser’s domain, making it a first-party cookie. Now, Apple’s Safari accepts it with no issue.
How Does This Affect Me?
Again, if your AdWords and Analytics accounts are linked, it doesn’t. Google took care of the hard work for you.
If your accounts are not linked, your data will only be accurate within the 24-hour period the cookie lasts. After that, everything’s basically an educated guess.
AdWords isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet. It just functions a bit differently.