Google updates AdWords as a response to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Update

Intelligent Tracking Update - Apple


Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention was created in June this year to prevent third party sites from capturing cross site browsing data. The idea was worked on to give Safari users a less epidemic experience from advertisers which results from re-targeting practices.  However, it is not designed with the purpose to disrupt the advertising methods of Google or others.

This ITP update is likely to be released mid of September. With this update, all third party cookies that are meant to track users from across sites will only work for 24 hours. After the window of 24 hours it’ll work for users in the logged in state & in about 30 days time it will not be of any use.

If you see, this ITP update looks to directly affect performance based advertising for Google and many others.


If a user who clicks an AdWords ad on his Safari browser does not convert in 24 hours then the attribution of his conversion will be completely lost. Knowing that Safari contributes to about 50% of traffic in north of America alone, imagine the implications around other top regions in the world?

As a preventive measure, Google has been working on an upgrade or you can say some changes in AdWords; obviously, keeping in mind Apple’s ITP terms & recommendations.

Google has created an Analytics cookie that will capture campaigns & conversion data from Safari and will function according to the ITP recommendations.

Two points which every advertiser must know are as follows;

  1. If your Google AdWords & Analytics are linked then you’re in the best place ever. Because now, Google will simply continue reporting conversions to you from Safari but in the back end it’ll work with the new cookie.
  2. If your AdWords & Analytics are not linked then AdWords will use modeling to account for conversions from Safari that will come after 24 hours of a user visiting your site. This might however take a few days to appear in the reporting dashboard.

If it’s possible to link your AdWords & Analytics then you should do it. It’ll just save all the hassle later on.

A little interesting information about the new cookie;

  1. The new Google Analytics cookie that Google has worked on is called _gac cookie
  2. This cookie extends the use of Google Analytics tracking so that Adwords conversion tracking is captured without any interference with the existing method
  3. This cookie will be used to store the ad click information on enabling auto-tagging
  4. Right now the cookie that is being used stays on domain & therefore is a third party cookie. With the new update the new cookie (_gac cookie) will stay on the advertiser’s domain, hence making it a first-party cookie.

This new change by Google provides a proper solution to Apple’s forthcoming update on Safari browser. All advertisers who majorly spend on acquisition must make a note of this and take preventive measures before the roll out of ITP.

If you have any further questions, or any points to add please post your comments.

Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash








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