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Intelligent Tracking Prevention - What You Need To Know

By Sandra Zerr, blog post 21/09/2017

Received a message about Intelligent Tracking Prevention, but not sure what it means? Google have recently notified all AdWords advertisers of changes coming to their accounts, in response to changes Apple are making to the latest version of Safari. It’s nothing to be concerned about, but it does affect how your conversions are tracked, and there may be a couple of steps you need to take to ensure your account is set up ready for the changes.

Here our Head of Performance Media, Sandra, explains what’s happening…

What is Intelligent Tracking Prevention?

ITP is a restriction on the length of time third party cookies can track users across different sites online. After 24 hours, third party cookies will only be used for storing log in details, and after 30 days they are removed altogether.

This means that there is a risk conversion tracking data, and therefore the correct attribution of a conversion, will be lost if a user does not convert within 24 hours of clicking your AdWords ad.

How is AdWords Changing?

In anticipation of ITP, Google have made a few changes to their conversion tracking system, in order to make sure you don’t miss any results from your advertising campaigns, and that all results are recorded against the correct source. In turn, you may need to make some updates too.

Firstly, a new Google Analytics cookie will be automatically applied by Google, to all advertisers using auto-tagging with a Google Analytics tag on their website. This cookie will store information about which specific advert brought the user to your site, and share the data with your AdWords reporting.

If you have not linked your AdWords and Analytics accounts however, then Google will use statistical modelling to estimate conversions that couldn’t be tracked definitively. These results will be based on past data, but only available for Google Search and Shopping adverts – Display, Video and AdSense adverts are not supported this way just yet.

Should I make any changes to my AdWords account?

There are two things you need to ensure are in place in your AdWords account.

1. Have auto-tagging enabled
2. Link your Google Analytics and Google AdWords accounts.

With both these settings, the new cookie will be applied automatically and your conversions will continue to be tracked accurately.

Of course, if you’re not sure if your account is ready, or how to make the changes, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We’d be happy to explain anything further, and can implement any necessary changes to your account.