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ITP2.1: Why You Won’t Make Your Advertising Targets, but Will Finally Get How Cookies Work

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Apple is rolling out a new cookies policy after version 2.1 has left the internet abuzz. Dumky de Wilde explores the impact of these intelligent tracking preventions

ITP2.1: Why You Won’t Make Your Advertising Targets, but Will Finally Get How Cookies Work
I’m not just saying it for the clicks, I actually believe you will not make the targets for your online ads this year. It’s not your fault, or the developer’s fault, or the social or SEA-consultant’s fault, or the creative’s fault. You can blame Apple, but don’t judge too soon. Last February Apple introduced version 2.1 of their so-called intelligent tracking prevention (ITP) causing major impact for a number of fields: A/B-testing, analytics, affiliate marketing and most importantly: remarketing. The short version is, as you can read in more detail in various places: you won’t be able to target Safari users after 7 days. The long version takes us back to the internet in the 90’s and makes you rethink the results of your online ad spend.

What’s a cookie anyway? 

Why the 90’s you say? Well, that’s the dawn of the era of the cookie, the little piece of technology living in your browser that you know and hate from those annoying pop ups. To understand why Apple — and Firefox alongside them — is trying to, intelligently, block cookies from tracking you, we have to understand how cookies work. 

A cookie stored in your browser solves the simple — though not easy — problem of keeping state. Keeping state means so much as a computer remembering events and previous interactions. Cookies are a way to save information specific to you on a website meant for everyone. They’re the reason you don’t have to login on each visit or set the location on your favourite weather website over and over. Cookies can be set server-side through the server that serves you the website, or through a little piece of javascript that runs in your browser (client-side).