Case Study: How to overcome ITP and recognize 6 times more returning visitors

How to overcome ITP and recognize 6 times more returning visitors


With the imminent demise of third-party cookies, marketing teams are shifting their strategies towards becoming fully focused on first-party data. Yet, even when the strategy is in place, there are a few roadblocks that prevent the proper recognition of customers.  

In this use case, we share how our Consultancy team was able to overcome the 7-day first-party cookie expiration period in Safari and enabled our customers to recognize up to six times more returning website visitors.  


Safari’s Intelligent Prevention Program (ITP) was launched in September 2017. The ITP blocked all third-party cookies and restricted first-party cookies, set by JavaScript, to a 7-day storage period. Holding currently an 18,4% market share among browsers worldwide, Safari contributes to a substantial part of the overall website traffic and marketers cannot ignore the impact that ITP has on their performance.  

As third-party cookies are already in decline, our customers focus on improving their performance using first-party cookies. Other browsers are following this trend and are implementing similar initiatives. 

For the marketing teams, the ITP restrictions on JavaScript set first-party cookies mean that they are not able to recognize their visitors for more than seven days, which prevents them from personalizing the customer experience based on their previous behaviors and interests.  


To help our customers overcome the ITP restrictions with regards to first-party data, our consultants started working closely together with one of our global customers. This project is part of our strategic Relay42 First-Party Data Program – a program in which we guide our customers toward building a first-party data strategy based on their specific situation.  

The main business goal of the use case was to increase the recognition rate of returning website visitors coming from the Safari browser.  

Moving from a JavaScript to a server-side cookie solution 

Since Safari restricts the use of JavaScript first-party cookies to a lifespan of 7 days, the customer team created a server-set cookie. With server-set cookies, cookies are generated on a cloud-based server rather than on the browser of the website visitor, bypassing the JavaScript-set cookies limitation. The server-set cookie is used in the Relay42 platform, as well as in Google Analytics.


The Relay42 Consultancy team ran a one-month experiment with a test and a control group. The test group received the server-set cookie, while the control group remained with the existing Google analytics ID, based on JavaScript. 

The result exceeded the expectations of the team. After a month, the team was able to recognize almost 6 times more returning visitors, coming from the group that received the server-set cookie.    

Click on the image to view the details

Benefits of the server set cookie solution 

Using a server set cookie allows your team to improve the performance on Safari by: 

  • Increasing the recognition of your returning website visitors (after 7 days) 

  • Improving the accuracy of your web analytics  

  • Optimizing your retargeting strategy for Safari users across channels 

  • Improving the personalization experience of your Safari users 



Ready to learn more about true personalization across channels?

Get in touch with our team to learn more about how the Relay42 platform can help your business turn fragmented data into meaningful customer relationships. 

Get in touch