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Page Domain Governance and Cookie Support

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NimashaJain
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NimashaJain
Community Manager

16-11-2021

Author: JB Creusat

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This post provides the steps necessary for Adobe Analytics users to take to ensure their cookies will continue to provide the data they need for customers using the new Chrome 80 browser.

With the release of Chrome 80 in February 2020, the need for strong governance around your domains has never been so critical. Whether you have a single domain or manage several, you need to ensure you have secure and first-party cookie support. If you fail to account for all your domains, visitor identification issues will occur with sessions and marketing attribution broken.

First validation checks

Two common issues will arise when you don’t have governance around your domains: you will find some of your domains in the Referring Domain report and your Page report will include "Other" as a value. The last issue is the one you want to fix first: it means you have a domain hosting your Adobe Analytics library, but you have not included it in your Internal URL Filters. Review your current list and document it in a governance worksheet. Adjust any glaring omission and we will see how to monitor all domains in a comprehensive matter.

Check also your referring domain report and sort by traffic and by revenue: any internal domain will appear high in your list for traffic. If you use a third-party domain for payment or any transaction, it will top your list as well. Adjust your Internal URL filters if you have identified any domain through that method. A common issue is the usage of a third-party shopping cart or Paypal.

Finally, since you are most likely using automatic exit link tracking, review the domains in your exit link report. The automatic exit link tracking is governed through the linkInternalFilters variable: compare the values found in this variable with the values you have documented for the Internal URL Filters. Per our documentation, Adobe recommends that s.linkInternalFilters and Internal URL Filters match each other. However, the two operate independently and serve separate functions.

Make your page domain a dimension in your implementation

Since you want to automate and be able to measure any domain impact on your implementation, you need to have the page domain as a dimension. I recommend you use a processing rule to set an eVar when page domain is available; leave the default Visit expiration. I prefer this over a hit level expiration variable, like a prop, since you can account for any link tracking or video activity happening on any page. Also, if you collect URL or any other value in a custom variable, you don’t want to be reliant on classification or on any Javascript implementation. The processing rule will use the value set automatically in the image request by the Analytics library. If you collect mobile app data, simply set the App ID in the same variable: this is useful for validating Visitor identification in web views and if you have access to Cross Device Analytics

Now that you have page domain available, you can go back to your page report and break down any remaining "Other" values to identify any domains you were not aware of. And, you can use this value to create Virtual Report Suite, which is particularly useful if you manage international domains. Using flow reports, you can measure interactions between domains. Using venn reports, you can visualize how visitors overlap across domains.

Ensure first-party cookie support

Because of Safari ITP, we recommend you deploy a CNAME tracking to extend the visitor ID expiration. What this means in terms of implementation is that you have in your trackingServer and trackingServerSecure variables, a value like "metrics.yourdomain.com" and "smetrics.yourdomain.com". If you don’t have a CNAME in place (for instance, you still use the default omtrdc.net value), review your page domain report to identify how many root domains you will need to set as CNAME. Since the report will include all your subdomain, you can simply sort by page views and filter out each domain until you have identified all root domains. For instance, if you have www.yourdomain.com, secure.yourdomain.com and blog.yourdomain.com, filter to remove "yourdomain.com". If you are using other root domains, they will still be present in your report.

This step is important to understanding how many CNAMEs you will need to set up: if you are only using a single root domain and subdomains, this is easy. If you had a strategy of microsites with custom domains, you are facing a challenge as you need CNAME to be on the same root domain for optimal tracking. Measuring traffic levels and conversions per domain will help you prioritize your CNAME efforts. Once you have your list of root domains to cover, reach out to Adobe Customer Care.

Finally, validate that all your domains are set up with the ECID: in your Page Domain report, compare "Unique Visitors" and "Visitors with Experience Cloud ID" (Figure 1). Note that if you don’t see the metric "Visitors with Experience Cloud ID", make sure you have mapped your report suite to your Org ID.

Figure 1: Comparing “Unique Visitors” and “Visitors with Experience Cloud ID”.Figure 1: Comparing “Unique Visitors” and “Visitors with Experience Cloud ID”.

Using the Adobe Experience Cloud Identity (ECID) Service and CNAMEs will ensure optimal cookie persistence with Safari and will also work with the Chrome 80 release. Otherwise, if you are still using the legacy s_vi cookie, carefully review your situation and use the guidance provided in our article "Adobe Experience Cloud: Cookie Updates for Google Chrome". In any case, we would encourage you to migrate to the ECID Service since it provides better support for data collection and is a requirement for most new features and integrations.

Follow the Adobe Experience Platform Community Blog for more developer stories and resources, and check out Adobe Developers on Twitter for the latest news and developer products. Sign up here for future Adobe Experience Platform Meetups.

References

  1. Chrome 80 Release – https://blog.google/outreach-initiatives/google-news-initiative/protecting-private-browsing-chrome/
  2. Adobe Analytics – https://www.adobe.com/analytics/adobe-analytics.html
  3. Internal URL Filters – https://docs.adobe.com/content/help/en/analytics/admin/admin-tools/internal-url-filter-admin.html
  4. Compare Domains and Referring Domains Reports – https://helpx.adobe.com/analytics/kb/comparing-domains-to-referring-domains-reports.html
  5. Exit Links – https://experienceleague.adobe.com/docs/analytics/components/dimensions/exit-link.html
  6. linkInternalFilters – https://docs.adobe.com/help/en/analytics/implementation/vars/config-vars/linkinternalfilters.html
  7. Compare s.linkInternalFilters to Internal URL filters – https://helpx.adobe.com/analytics/kb/linkinternalfilters-and-internal-url-filters.html
  8. How eVars work – https://helpx.adobe.com/analytics/kb/how-evars-work.html
  9. Cross Device Analytics – https://www.adobe.com/analytics/cross-device-analytics.html
  10. Virtual Report Suites – https://docs.adobe.com/help/en/analytics/components/virtual-report-suites/vrs-about.html
  11. Flow Reports – https://docs.adobe.com/help/en/analytics/technotes/ga-to-aa/reports/behavior-reports.html
  12. Venn – https://docs.adobe.com/content/help/en/analytics/analyze/analysis-workspace/visualizations/venn.html
  13. Apple Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) 2.x – https://docs.adobe.com/content/help/en/target/using/implement-target/before-implement/privacy/apple-...
  14. Use an Analytics tracking server – https://docs.adobe.com/content/help/en/target/using/integrate/a4t/analytics-tracking-server.html
  15. Correctly populate the trackingServer and trackingServerSecure variable – https://helpx.adobe.com/analytics/kb/determining-data-center.html
  16. ECID – https://www.adobe.io/apis/experienceplatform/home/profile-identity-segmentation/profile-identity-seg...
  17. Adobe Experience Cloud Identity (ECID) Service – https://docs.adobe.com/content/help/en/id-service/using/home.html
  18. Legacy s_vi cookie and other Analytics cookies – https://docs.adobe.com/content/help/en/core-services/interface/ec-cookies/cookies-analytics.html
  19. Adobe Customer Care – https://helpx.adobe.com/contact.html

Originally published: Feb 6, 2020