ITP 2.2: what are your options now that Apple restricted the use of first party cookies?

Edwin Dewez

The 12.2 version of the Safari browser which is expected to be released end of May will include a new ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) update. Apple’s aim is to protect user privacy, but the Cupertino firm is also clearly taking aim at Google and Facebook whose businesses rely on data collection. Putting Google and Facebook aside, this release is making digital performance measurement much harder for everyone.


What is the real impact of ITP and more importantly, what solutions have you got?



ITP: what are we talking about?  


ITP is a Safari feature aimed at increasing user privacy, and in particular prevent users being tracked across sites. The first ITP versions were therefore logically aimed at third party cookies, which are used to follow users on third party sites. However, the last 2 versions of ITP (2.1 and 2.2) now restrict first party cookies as well.With ITP 2.1, Safari reduced the “life expectancy” of first party javascript cookies to 7 days. This means is that a user coming to your site on day 1 and then again on day 10 would be considered as 2 different visitors.


With ITP 2.2, the same approach is tightened: if a visit comes from a domain considered as a “tracking domain” by the browser and if tagging parameters are present in the destination URL, these first party javascript cookies will be valid for 1 day only.


In other words, all the Google or Facebook landing pages are affected and whether you like it or not, you will from now on use a 1 day cookie window for Safari users!




What is the impact?


ITP doesn’t only affect cross-site visits: by limiting the first party cookie window to 1 day, it also potentially prevents you from recognizing a same user from one session to the next. Your number of unique visitors will therefore going to be overestimated, your audiences won’t reflect reality, and your user journeys are going to be more fragmented than ever. The problem will affect all the platforms: Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, your DSP, etc.


In terms of attribution, ITP will favor free traffic (which are less susceptible to include tracking parameters in the URLs) and touchpoints at the end of the journey (which gain an advantage due to the shorter view through window).


In the US, Safari has an 8% market share on desktop but a 50% market share on mobile devices (and represents 70% of tablet browsers). For these users, you are back to the stone age of attribution: no user path visibility and more likely than not a last click attribution methodology.

So what is the solution?


We have developed a solution with our tracking specialists at Wizaly: putting a first party tracking approach in place. This involves using your own domain name for tracking purposes. From your perspective, all you have to do is to grant us a subdomain via an alias (CNAM) in the DNS configuration. The Wizaly tracking then takes over to ensure that the cookies have the appropriate duration. This solution is compliant with individual user privacy and legal constraints.


You will therefore still be able to continue to manage your digital marketing investments using Wizaly without having a blind spot when it comes to Safari users. Our conviction is that a rigorous and granular user journey measurement should not be incompatible with individual user privacy and we look forward to helping our clients along that path.