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Google Updates Adwords Following Apple’s Release of Intelligent Tracking Protection

In June, Apple made waves in the ad world when it announced a new feature for Safari aimed at limiting tracking capabilities for third-party advertisers. In response, Google created a new update to Adwords, which they shared earlier this month.

The search engine giant developed a new cookie on Google Analytics that adheres to ITP standards. The new cookie will be able to capture campaign conversion data from Safari, but instead of being configured on a third-party domain, it is set to the advertiser’s.

A spokesman for Google explained the company’s reasons for updating Adwords with Search Engine Land:

“We are updating our measurement tools, consistent with Apple’s recommendations for ad attribution, to help our customers continue to accurately measure ad clicks and conversions,” said Chi Hea Cho, a Google spokesperson via email. “These changes are designed to work for all browsers, but are timed to adapt to the new settings Apple is introducing. Our goal is to limit interruptions to our users’ experiences and to preserve our partners’ ability to evaluate their investments in digital advertising. As always, giving users choice and control of their data and how it’s used is a top priority for us.

ITP limits how long third-party cookies can track users across different websites. If a conversion isn’t made within 24 hours from the time someone visits a site using Safari, that cookie can no longer be used for tracking purposes. After a 30-day period, cookies are wiped clean from a user’s system.

As opposed to tracking ad campaign performance, ITP takes aim primarily at reforming the way advertisers utilize retargeting. With its release, Apple has recommended “server-side storage for attribution of ad impressions” and that “(link) decoration can be used to pass on attribution information in navigations.”

Below is an excerpt of what Apple said in a statement to The Loop offering further clarification behind the intent of ITP. The rest can be read here.

“The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally.”

ITP affects all digital marketers since nearly half of all mobile website traffic in North America comes from iPhone users browsing with Safari. But it’s worth noting that for advertisers who have connected Adwords and Google Analytics, they’ll see no change. The new cookie Google has created will act as a first-party tool, which aligns with ITP policy for recording conversion data from Safari users.

If you’d like to learn more about the recent Adwords update in response to ITP, you can visit this page by Google. It goes into further detail about the recent changes.

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