PPC | August 12, 2017
What Do the Changes to the Safari Browser Mean for Marketers? HINT: A Lot
Updates improve functionality and user experience, so they’re good news for everyone… right?
Well, not everyone. When iOS 11 is released in September, Safari will get an update alongside its operating system.
… So, What’s the Issue?
Well, advertisers may already know that Safari blocks third party cookies and other browsers such as Firefox have followed suit, but this update will mean issues for first party cookies too.
Learn the lingo: Third party cookies are the files that are not owned by the website you’re visiting i.e. are not connected to their domain.
At the moment, first party cookies get priority with browsers and this benefits large ad exchanges as clicks get routed through the same domain. However, the iOS update will change the way first party cookies are treated. The new system will behave as follows:
First 24 hours – the cookie acts as normal. You will be able to track, retarget etc. as before.
After 24 hours – the cookies will only be available for session validation, which means users’ selections and passwords will be saved.
Day 30 – the cookie will expire.
What Does That Mean for You?
Well, in the words of Lance Corporal Jack Jones… don’t panic. Though there are a few things you should know:
If first-party cookies are made invalid after 30 days, large DSPs and retargeters will see the number of first party cookies they have access to decline by over 90% on Safari.
This change also means that remarketing to people on a longer purchase cycle could be very difficult. That is, unless the advertiser can get the user to visit their website multiple times in order to ensure the user is tracked for longer than 30 days.
What About the Wider Effects?
Specific effects will depend on the type of organisation. For example:
Small Companies – We think this will have a negative impact on publishers because, with DSPs being affected, many current revenue-streams from iOS devices will be cut off and there will be a huge switch in attention to Chrome and Internet Explorer.
Of course, an increase in cost doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in quality, and a lot of advertisers bidding for fewer ad placements could negatively impact the end user who will inevitably see fewer relevant ads.
Medium Businesses – There won’t be a huge impact to ad networks and other medium sized operations because of how Safari currently treats third-party cookies. However, a reduced competitiveness on Safari could increase costs on Internet Explorer and Chrome.
Large Platforms – This change may actually be very good news for large platforms because most users return to the site quite regularly. Therefore, this will allow continuous tracking of users. Sites such as Facebook and Amazon will likely be able to buy ads on Safari at a lower price due to the inevitable drop in competitiveness.
Although this update could impact Google negatively, we could see Doubleclick.net and Google.com merge, moving from third to first party cookies in a similar way to what Facebook did. Something which will likely see Google prosper.