Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention FAQs

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What is Intelligent Tracking Prevention?

Cookies, (small text files placed on a computer) were originally created to let a site mark who was logged in.

Advertisers can use cookies to build a detailed picture of a user’s browsing habits so that they can more accurately profile and target adverts to the right individuals.

Apple is launching a new feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention that limits websites’ use of cookies to track users around the web.

How Does Intelligent Tracking Prevention Work?

Let’s say example.com has the ability to track users cross-site.

In the first 24 hours from when the user last visited example.com nothing changes.

After 24 hours, the cookies placed by example.com cannot be used in a 3rd party context; meaning cross-site tracking is restricted.

30 days after the users last visited example.com, the cookies are purged. During this period, cookies are partitioned meaning that cookies can still be used for login purposes but not for cross-site tracking.

What Impact will Intelligent Tracking Prevention have for Advertising?

There is a 24- hour window in which cookies remain available in a third-party context. If the user interacted with example.com in the last 24 hours, its cookies will be available when example.com is a third-party.

The 24-hour window built into Intelligent Tracking Prevention will mean that this has minimal impact for services provided by companies such as Google and Facebook.

Daily visits to Google services will keep its tracking capabilities persistent.

Those who access Facebook through the web, and do so daily, can continue to be tracked by Facebook on Safari.

While the update from Apple detects and eliminates cookies, it does not block actual ads.

There may be a small impact in terms of remarketing but since it is quite difficult for a person not to come into contact with one of Google’s services such as search, Gmail, Google Docs, etc. this impact will be quite limited.

Likewise, dependent on your demographic, given that most people log into Facebook on a daily basis, the impact on paid Facebook advertising should also be limited for Safari users.

When is Intelligent Tracking Prevention Being Rolled Out?

iOS 11 (Apple’s operating system) began updating on phones and tablets on the 19th September and includes the feature for the default Safari web browser.

The tracking prevention system will also arrive on Apple’s computers as part of the High Sierra update to macOS on the 25th September.

Apple’s Safari Browser Market Share

According to StatCounter, in the UK, the Safari browser is used by 30.69% of users (9.82% desktop, 45.59% mobile, 69.3% tablet).

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