Anti-Tracking = Advertiser nightmare. The impact of Safari’s new feature

The anti-tracking feature in the newest version of Apple’s Safari browser is causing disruption in the digital marketing world. The feature completely prevents tracking cookies from working in the open web. Ultimately, this anti-tracking feature makes it harder to calculate the return-on-investment for digital ads.

Why is this critical?

Historically, firms like ours execute programmatic online/digital campaigns for our clients. These are campaigns that are not site specific. Instead, these campaigns target the user. Therefore, if the user is within the designated geography, criteria and behaviors that we initially set up, he/she will be served an ad no matter which site he/she is visiting. We are able to track users’ activity through the use of “cookies.” Without the use of “cookies”,  it makes it a lot more challenging to serve ads to users and potential prospects.

What is it?

The version, released 10 weeks ago is now dubbed “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” or “ITP2,” the second major iteration of its anti-tracking tool. The first ITP provided companies with a 24-hour grace period to target users or capture data but the newest version completely removed that. For instance, someone who visits Nike’s website can’t be targeted elsewhere on the web such as Google search or the New York Times website

ITP makes it difficult to assess the ROI of advertising when exposed to an online ad while using Safari. ITP 2 will essentially kill the ability to use RLSA in the safari browser. RLSA allows brands to segment different Google search audiences using their own data. Brands use RLSA to target consumers who visit their website, or abandon items in their shopping cart.

The Future

As the dominant browser in the US, Safari captures more than 50 percent of the market share on mobile meaning ITP2 will have a severe impact on digital marketing. Nearly half of the $88 billion spent on digital advertising went toward search during 2017. Currently, the Safari update is already starting to disrupt giants like Google. There are still many unknowns and it may take some months to see the full effect of ITP2.