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ITP 2.2 Update, Anti-Tracking, Compliance and Publisher Concerns

ITP 2.2 Update, Anti-Tracking, Compliance and Publisher Concerns


Apple’s latest ITP update and further anti-tracking methods continue to impact the attribution and affiliate channel with publisher concerns on the rise and tracking capabilities being questioned.

It appears that Apple’s infamous Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) has taken another turn with the US tech giant announcing it’s latest 2.2 update. The aim this time is to restrict the ability of companies to measure traffic and attribute ads to site visits in addition to online purchases on third-party websites.

What was initially an aim to prevent ad tech companies the ability to monitor user browsing behaviour when they visit websites via the Safari browser has changed drastically in the space of 12 months. ITP took the target of third-party cookies from ad tech vendors and platforms such as Facebook and Google that track users across Apple’s Safari web browser and other sites hosting third-party cookies. A number of updates have come into play. One of which was to combat the workaround of first-party cookies that mimics the functionality of third-party cookies. In February, ITP 2.1 saw first-party cookies’ lifespan capped to seven days, and now with 2.2 in motion, the lifespan has been cut to 24 hours.

The most obvious impact is when the consumer clicks on an ad for a product and decides to take a couple of days before purchasing. The cookie would be lost when that person returns directly to the site to buy the product. 

The most obvious impact is when the consumer clicks on an ad for a product and decides to take a couple of days before purchasing. The cookie would be lost when that person returns directly to the site to buy the product. 

The latest change applies specifically to the ad tech vendors who employ link decoration to continue tracking Safari users on third-party sites. Visit here for a full scope of the ITP 2.2 update.

Anti-tracking, compliance and publisher concerns

There’s no denying the fact that Apple’s anti-tracking methods have rattled publishers that attribute data from ads and user site journey from first-party cookies. More so on the publisher side, when it comes to driving site traffic and conversions, these constant updates are certainly having short-term implications, as highlighted in an article from Digiday, which states this is indirectly affecting attribution marketing. 

You could argue that this is simply just for activity on the Safari browser, but with now confirmed anti-tracking updates from Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browser, including a feature to specifically delete third-party data cookies, the focus has somewhat shifted for publishers to finding alternative ways to more effectively monetise their first-party data.

Then there’s the compliance side of it all, which has been discussed multiple times within the affiliate industry for instance. Networks have stepped in to encourage more compliance, introducing appropriate tracking methods so that advertiser campaigns are fit for purpose and are not otherwise impaired by the ongoing browser practices. Publishers accept campaigns that are viable and reward them fairly, otherwise, they may move elsewhere if the proper measures are not implemented. 

A debate has formed in the Affiliate Cockpit around the issues of tracking for merchants and affiliates. Whilst there is no guaranteed solution due to the evolving landscape of browser updates, ad blockers and walled gardens, there’s no doubt further challenges will emerge. One challenge being discussed among some publishers is the level of sales not been made over certain periods and reporting zero conversions. Now whether that’s down to the tracking capabilities from the network platform, the non-compliance nature of the merchant or wider effects like traffic sources is hard to pinpoint without clear evidence. Visible and transparent data is on everyone’s agenda and actively or accidentally validated, publishers may feel the effects.

To conclude, for now, anti-tracking methods from the ad tech vendors will continue to disrupt the attribution and affiliate channel, making all the more reason for networks, advertisers and publishers to work together to combat the challenges that lie ahead and ensure all parties are equally transparent and rewarded fairly.

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Mustafa Mirreh

Mustafa Mirreh

Mustafa is a senior journalist at PerformanceIN. Reporting on the latest day-to-day news and updates from the world of performance marketing, while also doing social media promotion, live reporting of events, article features and interviewing key industry players.


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