APD’s Take on Apple’s Safari Tracking Prevention

Roger Lee, Head of Affiliate at APD, discusses the impacts of new cookie tracking rules in Safari and how to best handle them moving forward.

Will the big, bad Safari update impact your ability to track cookies?

As you’ve probably heard, back in June Apple announced they were imposing new rules on cookie tracking via their newest release of the Safari browser. The primary change affecting the affiliate industry is that third party cookies would only last for 24 hours and then be deleted. It’s been in the news again this week again because the digital marketing industry has hit back at Apple and Apple has defended itself, justifying the new measures.

Apple’s focus is on privacy and seems to be aimed at targeting retargeters. But to my mind they’re going about it the wrong way.

The retargeting industry is fairly self-regulating; if the ads were no longer relevant after 24 hours then the marketers wouldn’t buy them. The ads get purchased because they work; consumers have an interest in seeing them.

As digital marketers we know advertising plays a vital role in keeping so much of the content and services on the internet free. Ads are a necessity of the online ecosystem and changes that make it harder to advertise effectively aren’t beneficial to the bigger picture. Surely it’s a better experience for consumers to see ads for products that they’re interested in rather than be served ads at random.

What’s the Impact for Affiliate Advertisers and Publishers?

Tracking sales (with a marker or digitally) shouldn’t be a major issue for APD with the Safari 11 updates.

In terms of affiliate marketing via APD, the effects are likely to be pretty small. About 90% of transactions that we track occur within the 24 hour window anyway, and only 28% of total sales come from customers using Safari as their browser.

The APDPerformance platform powered by Impact Radius does use cookies as a primary source of tracking, but we also have cookieless tracking as a backup. This means advertisers will continue to get accurate reporting and publishers will continue to be paid for all the sales they generate.

Similarly, in Lead Generation, conversions tend to happen shortly after the click on an email, so again the effects will again be negligible.

What Should Digital Marketers Do?

It’s likely your display remarketing campaigns will take the biggest hit as a result of this change, as consumers start to adopt Safari 11. There’s a number of ways to fill this gap:

Onsite Remarketing — Target customers before they abandon your websites to get that purchase in immediately. You can do this with a discount, but that’s not normally necessary if you create compelling arguments to drive conversions earlier.

Email Remarketing — If you can collect a customer’s email address before they leave your website, you can retarget them that way instead. Email addresses can be picked up from key strokes or by providing customers an option to save their basket for later.

Affiliate Marketing — By creating meaningful relationships with key partner sites, you have a new way to reach your customer base and grow that base at a guaranteed ROI. Just make sure you employ a network that has cookieless tracking enabled.

Conversion Rate Optimisation — There’s an infinite number of ways to improve your onsite conversion rates with multi-variant testing, meaning you generate more revenue from the customers you’ve brought in to your website.

Obviously there’s a whole raft of other digital mediums that can be leveraged that won’t be effected by this change. Now, as always, you should look to optimise existing channels and add new channels to generate additional revenue.

How Can APD Help?

APD employs experts in all of the above solutions. We take a holistic view of your objectives and create bespoke solutions to fit. If you’re interested in understanding the strategies and technologies that can grow your online sales, please get in touch.

Roger is a veteran of affiliate marketing with more than a decade spent in and around the industry. He strongly believes in enabling mutually beneficial partnerships through technology and positive innovation.