Should Marketers Worry about Intelligent Tracking Prevention in the new OSX?

Marketing & Advertising, Technology & Innovation

In the beginning of June 2017 on Apple WWDC 2017, Apple just introduced a huge load of new things. One thing I found interesting is a new feature on Safari browser which will come with a new OSX High Sierra, Intelligent Tracking Prevention. For a rough explanation, it protects users from getting tracked while they enjoy browsing on Safari.

Sounds good for the user, but how about marketer?

Since this day, many sites employ Re-targeting Advertising, what should we do if one day this feature becomes a new standard for the browser?


How does Retargeting Advertising work?

Making it easier to understand, I should start with a demonstration on how Re-targeting Advertising work. This started with two sites, at least. One is a normal site and the other one is an advertising site, having an advertising display on its site. When users visit a normal site, they will obtain a tagging data called ‘’Cookie’ which contains various user information including Setting, Activity, and Password for instance. This Cookie helps the site to recognise new and revisiting users. When a normal site becomes an advertising partner with an advertising site, the site will be embedded with a code that will drop a tracking cookie which contains the data about the content of the site and user activity on the site. This cookie will be recognised by an advertising site, which the site will assume that users interested in this particular content and provide an advertisement based on their interest. This method is far better than traditional method since users are exposed to an advertisement relevant to their interest, which believes to be an improved advertising experience.

Then the next question will be How Intelligent Tracking Prevention will affect this process?


How does Intelligent Tracking Prevention work?

Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a machine learning program that can protect users from getting tracked. It learns from user behaviours to differentiate and identify an advertisement tracking cookie from a normal web cookie. After that, it will continuously purge that advertisement tracking cookie. This means users will be protected from tracking cookie generated by an advertising site. This sounds like the end for marketers using re-targeting advertising. However, it’s not all about bad. If users regularly visit any advertising site, the program will treat tracking cookies from that site differently. By regularly visiting an advertising site, the program will assume that users are interested in that site and don’t feel disturbed from being exposed to an advertisement from that site. So, the program will allow the tracking cookie to work for 24 hours after the most recent visit before temporarily block that tracking cookie. This means if users regularly visit any particular advertising site within 24 hours, tracking cookie can still track them. Even users have stopped visiting the site for 24 hours, the tracking cookie won’t be completely deleted immediately. In fact, it will be blocked for 30 days, without further visiting, before permanently deleted. This clearly means that a popular advertising site, such as Facebook and Google, are less likely to be affected by this feature since they can attract users to regularly visit their sites. While many small providers are likely to affected by this new feature.


More detail about Intelligent Tracking Prevention can be found on Apple WebKit blog.

How far should marketers concern about this?

Considering this circumstance, this might not be that much worrisome as we though. Because, this feature will be available only on Desktop Version of Safari which, according to, Safari contributes around 5% of the global desktop browser. In mobile browser market, Safari gains around 20% of the market but the number keep going down year by year. On the other hands, the major browser on both desktop and mobile platform, Google Chrome, prefer to pursue a better browsing experience by raising advertising standard and eliminate intrusive advertisement.

Statista-Global Desktop Browser Market Share

Statista-Global Mobile Browser Market Share

Final Thought

This feature can bother only a marketer or small advertising site with really niche audiences, using Safari Desktop as their main communication channel. Besides, it’s less likely to become a new standard for browser too since other major browsers seek different methods.

What do you think about this? Feel free to comment and discuss.