Impacts of Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention

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As part of the new Safari update, Apple has released Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), a new feature that could impact the accuracy of first party tracking, which will include AdWords, Kenshoo, Bing, Criteo and AdRoll.

What is ITP?

Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a new technology that works to block third-party trackers from acquiring browsing data.

Here’s what Barry Schwartz wrote for Search Engine Land on 8th September:

In short, with ITP, third-party cookies that are determined to be able to track users across sites can only be used for 24 hours from the time a user visits a website via Safari. After 24 hours, the third-party cookies can only be used for log-in purposes. The cookies are purged entirely after 30 days. This means that unless a user converts within 24 hours of last visiting an advertiser’s site after clicking an AdWords ad, for example, the conversion attribution will be lost.

What is Google’s response?

In response to this, Google has created a new Analytics Cookie that aims to carry on capturing conversion metrics, but in a way that complies with ITP.

Google wants its customers to be able to continue measuring their performance with clicks and conversions as accurately as possible. By introducing the new Analytics Cookie, Google hopes to put a lid on interruptions and hopefully provide users with opportunities for evaluation and control with their data.

The New Cookie

Barry Schwartz explains how this new cookie works:

The _gac cookie extends the usage of Google Analytics tracking to include AdWords conversion tracking. It will be used to store the ad click information when auto-tagging is enabled… today, the conversion cookie is set on the domain, which means it is considered a third-party cookie. The _gac cookie will be set on the advertiser’s domain, becoming a first-party cookie and acceptable to ITP. That means ad data associated with the user will remain intact for attribution and conversion reporting.

AdWords Implications

If your AdWords account is linked to your Google Analytics account, you shouldn’t see any changes, as Google will continue to report as usual with the new cookie.

If your accounts aren’t linked, AdWords will leverage models to report on conversions in a 24 hour period (after a user’s visit) through an ad in Safari. This is also the case for advertisers who disable the new cookie.


We are aware that Kenshoo, our bid management platform, is focusing on analysing these changes within their own services, and will be updating us with their findings as soon as possible.

Here at ClickThrough, we have acknowledged the impact ITP will have on Kenshoo and AdWords conversions, and our PPC team will be keeping a very close eye on performance. If we see any drops in performance, we will raise it with your team.

In the meantime, feel free to contact us regarding any queries you may have.

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