Brands risk crumbling with 3rd-party cookies

Four in every five (79%) brands across the Asia-Pacific region still rely heavily on third-party cookies, with over half (56%) of leaders expecting the end of third-party cookies will hurt their businesses, according to a new study by Adobe.

Adobe commissioned independent research company, Advanis which surveyed 2,667 full-time marketing and customer experience leaders across eight countries – the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and India. 

Respondents include 656 from APAC. The survey was conducted between November 8 and 22, 2022.

Findings show that ambiguity over cookie deprecation is causing confusion and, in some cases, inaction. One in every three (38%) APAC leaders say they are not changing their marketing strategy out of a perceived lack of urgency, while others plan to change but are delaying cookieless preparation.

“Companies that aren’t diversifying their strategies are leaving money on the table today, and hurting their chances of gaining competitive advantages in the future,” said Gabbi Stubbs, lead of product marketing and strategy at Adobe APAC. 

“While a wholesale change in strategy takes commitment and long-term investment, the benefits are undeniable across all currencies that matter—from customer loyalty and satisfaction to a better bottom line,” said Stubbs.

More than half (52%) of APAC leaders still spend at least half of their marketing budgets on cookie-based activations — and 79% actually plan to increase spending on cookie-dependent activations this year. 

Most (81%) leaders in APAC still rely heavily on third-party cookies because they feel they’re very effective.

The majority (86%) of APAC leaders at cookie-dependent companies say that at least 30% of their total potential market is in environments where third-party cookies don’t work, such as social media platforms and on Apple devices, and 59% say that half or more of their potential market is in cookieless environments. 

Adobe said that beyond the immediate consequences of being unable to reach 30-50% of potential customers, the impacts of this mistake will only compound with every passing quarter as the cookieless frontier continues to expand.

Many APAC leaders expect the end of third-party cookies will hurt their businesses, in some cases profoundly — 34% said it would “devastate” their businesses, 21% anticipate significant harm, and 25% predict a moderate negative impact.

Many heavy third-party cookie users believe they don’t have a choice, with over half (60%) of cookie-using leaders saying they view cookies as a “necessary evil,” even though many realise that continued overreliance is a losing strategy for the long-term.

While many companies are now on the path to abandoning cookies, a third (38%) are not. Some say they’re not changing out of a perceived lack of urgency. Others plan to change but are delaying preparations.

The research found that over half (54%) of APAC leaders who use CDPs or customer data platforms say they’ve already gained more direct relationships with customers, a rise in customer loyalty (42%), and an increase in the number and value of completed transactions (41%). 

CDPs also improve internal workflows, with 46% saying it enabled better and faster work across marketing and IT and more efficient ROI production (35%).