Track customers in ODP Lite

  • Updated
ODP Lite is not available to new customers as of May 1, 2024.

Optimizely Data Platform (ODP) Lite tracks visitors using browser cookies. When a visitor lands on your website, ODP Lite checks for an existing tracking cookie. If one does not exist, ODP Lite associates a cookie with that visitor and registers their on-site behaviors (like page views) moving forward, resulting in identity resolution and event collection.

Cookie types

There are two types of cookies: first-party cookies and third-party cookies. To enable event collection and user resolution, ODP Lite stores first-party cookies specific to the brand’s website.

  • First-party cookies – Stored by the domain the customer visited.
  • Third-party cookies – Set by another domain, such as an ad server or ad platform engaging in cross-site tracking or retargeting of website visitors with ads or an on-site service (like a chat or login feature).

How ODP Lite tracks and identifies customers

You must have the ODP JavaScript tag implemented on your site for ODP Lite to track and identify customers. ODP Lite first tracks and builds customer profiles for anonymous customers (those who are only identified by a tracking cookie). Once a customer provides identifiable information, ODP Lite performs user resolution to create a more specific customer profile. See Customer identity and resolution.

ODP JavaScript tag

  • ODP Lite only tracks visitors if you have the ODP JavaScript tag implemented on your site.
  • ODP Lite connects page views to an identified customer if they click a link in a tracked email (legacy) that directs to a page with the ODP JavaScript tag installed.

Anonymous tracking

  • ODP Lite tracks visitors, using first-party cookies, before they become a known customer.
  • When a visitor fills out a web embed or modal, ODP Lite associates their previous anonymous page views based on their tracking cookie. If a customer in ODP Lite already has that email address, ODP Lite identifies this visitor as the customer.

User resolution

  • ODP Lite uses customer identifiers, such as a customer's email address and the VUID included in a customer's cookie, to determine which events are associated with the customer and if events from "different" visitors should be merged.
  • If a visitor deletes their cookies, ODP Lite considers them a new visitor and assigns them a new cookie. However, ODP Lite automatically applies user resolution and merges submissions coming from the same email address, even if different cookies were associated with those submissions.
  • If a customer uses a different browser or blocks cookies and does not provide identifiable information (such as email address or login information) in their subsequent visits, ODP Lite counts them as multiple unique visitors.
  • If multiple people share a single computer and browser, their submissions result in unique customer profiles as long as they use a unique customer identifier (such as an email address). The profile associated with the most recent submission would inherit the shared browser cookie/VUID, and ODP Lite incorporates all events into that profile until another high-confidence submission from one of the "secondary" users occurs.

Privacy concerns

The privacy and security scrutiny that third-party cookies face does not impact ODP Lite functionality as it exists today. For more information about compliance and consent, see these articles.

  • Google Chrome’s SameSite update in February 2020 – Impacts access to third-party cookies through non-secure connections and requires the third-party cookie to properly identify that cross-site access is being requested.
  • Google Chrome phases out third-party cookies in 2022 – Impacts the ability to set third-party cookies in Chrome. Google is proposing to replace tracking cookies with to-be-determined solutions that do not provide 1:1-level tracking but still allow for targeting, and block third-party cookies by default in Chrome. Google has not mentioned any impact to first-party cookies at this time.
  • Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) for Safari – Safari continues to block third-party cookies by default. ITP attempts to identify first-party cookies that are acting as third-party trackers using redirects/bounce tracking, URL decoration, local storage and other specific practices designed to enable ad targeting. Standard site browsing/serving operations do not commonly use these methods. ITP is unlikely to target a brand’s first-party cookies.