October 24, 2018

How to Update Your AdWords Tracking Code for Safari’s New Intelligent Tracking Prevention

Why Safari is blocking trackers?

Significant data breaches have pervaded the news recently. As a result, many people are asking for more control over how their personal data is used online.

red tape

In response, Apple has released a new block for tracking codes in their latest Safari browser update. The new block is called Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and it is aimed at limiting third-party trackers from gathering cross-site browsing data.

Thankfully, Google has created a new tracking code that overcomes the Safari ITP and aligns with Apple’s recommendations for ad attribution.

Therefore, you need to update your AdWords tracking code to continue recording website conversions accurately.

What is Intelligent Tracking Prevention?

The new block means that third-party cookies that track users across sites can only be used for 24 hours after a website visit through Safari.

After 24 hours, cookies can only be used by the website for user-friendly log-in purposes. After 30 days from visiting the website, the user’s cookies will be completely removed.

What is the Impact on Safari AdWords Tracking & Conversion Reporting?

If users don’t convert within 24 hours of visiting a website from an AdWords campaign, the conversion attribution will be lost. With Safari accounts accounting for a large proportion of website traffic, this will prevent advertisers from accurately attributing conversions. 

Without updating your AdWords tracking code, it will be difficult to know the true value of AdWords campaigns.

How has Google Updated Their AdWords Tracking Code?

Apple’s ITP changes are targeted towards aggressive retargeting practices, rather than the tracking abilities of advertisers. Therefore, Google has created a new AdWords tracking code that is timed to adapt to Safari’s new settings. 

The new tracking code will limit interruptions to the user experience, while maintaining their partners ability to evaluate digital advertising investments.

Their new tracking code will measure conversions consistently with prior public recommendations for ad attribution.

How to Update Your AdWords Tracking Code:

You now need up update your tags to measure conversions accurately on all browsers.

The best way to continue measuring conversions is to update your legacy conversion tags with the global site tag (gtag.js).

  1. Log into Google Ads Experience (the conversions page).
  2. Click the website conversion action name which you want updated.
  3. Expand the “tag setup” panel at the bottom of the page.
  4. Follow the instructions on that page to install both tag snippets.
  5. Add the global site tag to all pages of your website so that it can set new cookies on your domain. You will only need one global site tag across your entire website, even if you track multiple actions. (Google Tag Manager can help you out a lot here!)
  6. Ensure the event snippet tag is installed on the conversion page(s).

To get the full benefits of the site-wide tag, ensure to follow the steps in this checklist.

AdWords Tracking Best Practice

The new tag acts like a first-party cookie. Therefore, once you link your AdWords and Google Analytics campaigns with the new cookie, you can continue to record AdWords conversion data from Safari browsers.

If you don’t link your accounts, Google will use modelling to record conversions from Safari in AdWords. The modelling will be based on historical conversion activity that occurred within the 24-hour period from the ad click.

To measure the real-time value of your AdWords campaigns accurately, it is best practice to update to the new global site tag.

Need more advice Google Tag Manager or AdWords tracking?

Get in touch with our digital performance team below or read more about our paid media services!

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