How browser changes can impact you and why it’s important
As technology advances, regulation gets introduced, and public perceptions change, various browser makers have introduced technology to empower users with more control over their private information. These changes, deployed to protect user’s privacy, can have an impact on traditional web measurement, such as retention rates or Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
Understanding these changes is therefore critical in analysis and planning of marketing spend because in most cases the numbers won’t flat line but will instead become redistributed in a report. This causes those who are unaware of the changes to develop inaccurate conclusions, which may be used to support a (wrongly informed) course of action, which can pose a real business risk.
Timeline to track technical browser changes
Keeping track of all the technical changes that can impact your analytics and measurement strategies can be a sizable effort. We aim to make that easier for you. The timeline below highlights all the major changes to the browser space over the last several years and into the near future.
- 21st: Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.1 released.
- Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.2 deploys to iPhone and iPad only.
- 4th: Firefox enabled Enhanced Tracking Protection by default for all new installs.
- 3rd: Firefox enabled Enhanced Tracking Protection by default for all installs.
- 19th: Apple upgrades iOS and introduces iPadOS. This change altered Safari on iPad’s user agent to look like macOS.
- 20th: Apple upgrades Safari to release 13, deploys ITP 2.2 to Desktop.
- 24th: Apple deploys Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.3 to Desktop, Mobile, Tablet (Safari Only).
- 7th: Opera deploys Anti-tracking tech.
- 13th: Brave browser stable 1.0 released.
- 10th: Apple deploys an update to Intelligent Tracking Prevention.
- 15th: Microsoft upgrades Edge, adding anti-tracking tech by default.
- Chrome begins to deploy the sameSite attribute changes previously announced, with a ramping rollout for versions 80+,
- 2nd: Chrome increases the percentage of users with sameSite enforcement.
- 9th: Chrome increases the percentage of users with sameSite enforcement.
- 3rd: due to the pandemic, all sameSite enforcement has been rolled back for Chrome 80+.
- 14th: Chrome sameSite enforcement begins to ramp back up for Chrome versions 80 and higher.
- 28th: Chrome sameSite enforcement population increases.
- 4th: Firefox begins to delete known tracking cookies daily in most scenarios.
- 11th: Chrome sameSite enforcement reaches 100% for Chrome 80+.
- 25th: Chrome 85 changes the behavior of the referrer.
- 16th: Apple deploys iOS14, iPadOS 14, and Safari 14 – this update enables Intelligent Tracking Prevention for all browsers on iOS and iPadOS.
- 6th: Chrome 86 implements caching changes which may slightly impact performance metrics, but also breaks common fingerprinting vectors.
- 5th: Apple releases iOS 14.2, affecting the use of CNAMEs in bypassing ITP restrictions.
- 12th: Apple releases MacOS Big Sur, affecting the use of CNAMEs in bypassing ITP restrictions.
- Browsers begin to caps the macOS version exposed in the User-Agent string to 10.15.2021
- 26th: Firefox 85 implements caching changes which may slightly impact performance metrics, but also breaks common fingerprinting vectors.
- Firefox announces plans to partition the cookie cache in ETP Strict Mode
- 14th: Firefox enables Total Cookie Protection.
- 20th: Release of iOS15, iPadOS15, including Private Relay (iCloud+ Subscribers) and enhancements to Intelligent Tracking Prevention to obscure IP Address, impacting geo targeting.
- 25th: Release of MacOS15, including Private Relay (iCloud+ Subscribers) and enhancements to Intelligent Tracking Prevention to obscure IP Address, impacting geo targeting.
- 15th: Microsoft discontinues support for Internet Explorer and begins to force upgrade users to Microsoft Edge.
- 28th: Firefox begins to strip query string parameters in ‘Strict’ Mode beginning with release 102.
- 26th: Firefox rolls out Total Cookie Protection by default with release 103.
- 2nd: Chrome limits the duration of cookies to 400 days with release 104.
- 14th: Microsoft disables Internet Explorer in favor of Microsoft Edge.
- 19th: Brave fully rolls out Consent Banner blocking.
- Google Chrome to phase out 3rd party cookies (expected second half 2024).