Conductrics and ITP


What’s the impact on your Conductrics implementation?


As you are likely aware, many browsers have begun to restrict the ability to “track” visitor behavior, in an effort to protect visitor privacy. The focus is especially on third-party scripts that could track users as they move between totally unrelated sites on the Internet.

Apple’s efforts in this regard are particularly well-known, with the introduction of their Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) policies.

  • ITP has gone through several revisions, each placing additional restrictions on how visitor information can be stored and for how long.
  • While ITP is most well-known for affecting Safari users on iPhone and iPad, it also affects other browsers on those devices, such as Firefox for iOS / iPadOS. Safari users on the Mac are also affected.

While Conductrics has never engaged in any sort of visitor-tracking outside of your own agents/tests, ITP and other similar restrictions are now a fact of life. There may be some impact on what you can do with Conductrics (or other similar service).

When Using Client-Side Conductrics in Web Pages


When you use Conductrics Express or our Local JavaScript API in your pages, your Conductrics tests/agents do their work locally in the browser. They also store their “visitor state” information locally in the browser.

This visitor state information includes the variation assignments per agent (such as whether the visitor has been selected for the “A” or “B” variation for each of your tests), and some other information such as which goals/conversions have been reached and whether any visitor traits have been set.

ITP says that this visitor state information may be cleared between a user’s visits to your pages, if more than 7 days have passed since their last visit. For some sites, the visitor state may be cleared after one day (the one-day rule would likely be triggered if visitors arrive at your site via link decoration, common in social media campaigns).

What does this all mean?

  • If a visitor goes 7 days (*) or more between visits, your client-side Conductrics implementation will likely see the visitor as a “new” visitor.
  • So, after 7 days (*), the visitor might get a different variation than on their previous visit(s). They would also be counted again in the Conductrics reporting.
  • If the visitor hits a goal/conversion event, but it’s been 7 days (*) since they were exposed to a variation for a given test/agent, the goal/conversion will not be counted.

How should we change our testing or optimization practice?

  • For A/B or MVT testing, it may make sense to try to focus on tests that would reasonably be expected to lead to a conversion event within 7 days (*).
  • Generally speaking, it may make sense to focus on tests or optimizations where it wouldn’t be “absolutely terrible” if the visitor were to be re-exposed to a test, possibly getting a different variation.
  • You could consider using rules/conditions within your Conductrics agents such that Safari browsers are excluded from your tests. However, that will likely reduce the number of visitors that you do expose (particularly on mobile), probably requiring you to run the test for longer, and also possibly “skewing” your results since you’d be likely excluding most visitors on Apple devices.
  • You could consider looking at ITP vs non-ITP browsers (or iOS / iPadOS vs non) when evaluating the results of a test, to see if there are any important, noticeable differences between the two groups for your actual visitors.
  • Conversely, Conductrics could be configured to treat all visitors as if they were subject to ITP’s “7 day rule” (or one day), even on browsers that don’t currently impose such restrictions by default (thus leveling the field between ITP and non-ITP browsers). Contact Conductrics to discuss.

(*) The “7 day rule” might actually be one day, depending on whether the visitor lands on your site via “link decoration” (that is, via a URL that has identifiers included in query parameters or similar). See this article from the WebKit team for details.

Frequently Asked Questions


These frequently asked questions are about client-side Conductrics usage.

Q: How is the Visitor State information stored?

A: By default, client-side Conductrics stores its visitor state information in the browser’s “Local Storage” area. Alternatively, it can be configured to instead store the information as a cookie. The main reason to choose the cookie option is to allow the visitor state to be shared between subdomains. ITP is in effect in equal measure regardless of whether your Conductrics implementation is set to use Local Storage or Cookies.

Q: What does Conductrics do to work around ITP?

A: We don’t try to defeat or “work around” ITP or similar policies. The WebKit team has made it very clear that ITP is a work in progress and will continue to address any loopholes. Rather than try to implement workarounds that would likely be short-lived, we think our customers will be better served if we focus on helping you make sense of your test results in an ITP world.

Q: Which browsers are affected by ITP?

A: Technically, ITP is implemented in WebKit browsers, which includes Safari on mobile and desktop. That said, other browsers such as Firefox have similar policies, so often the term “ITP” is used colloquially to refer to any browser restrictions on cookies and other browser-based storage and tracking.

When Using the Conductrics REST API


All of the above is about using client-side Conductrics. If you use the Conductrics REST-style API, the “visitor state” information is retained on the Conductrics side, using an identifier that you pass in when calling the API.

Because the identifier is “on your side” conceptually, whether your REST API tests are affected by ITP will depend on how you store the identifier that you provide to Conductrics.

  • If the identifier is associated with a “logged in” or “authenticated” session, it is probably stored in some way on your side such that it can live for a long time, and thus would not be affected by ITP.
  • If the identifier is being stored as a first-party cookie by your client-side code, it is likely also subject to ITP or similar policies, so your Conductrics tests would likely be affected to more or less the same degree as discussed above. However, if the identifier is being stored as “server cookie” only (with the HttpOnly and Secure flags on the cookie itself), then it is probably not affected by ITP.
  • For native mobile apps (or other devices or systems such as kiosks, set-tops, or IVRs), you probably have an identifier that is stored “natively”, without having anything to do with web pages, so your implementation would probably not be affected by ITP.

 Questions?

As always, feel free to contact Conductrics regarding ITP, visitor data, or any other questions you may have. We’re here to help!


Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*