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APAC organisations aren't preparing for a cookieless future - report
Wed, 15th Mar 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Adobe has released new research that shows brands arent taking the necessary steps to evolve their data strategies, despite serious near and long-term impacts on their businesses.

The global survey of more than 2,600 marketing and consumer experience leaders (including 656 APAC respondents) also explores the marketing investments and strategies that set industry leaders apart from the competition.

The study finds that across APAC, the majority (79%) of brands still rely heavily on third-party cookies, with over half (56%) of leaders expecting the end of third-party cookies will hurt their businesses.

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

Gabbi Stubbs, APAC Product Marketing and Strategy, Adobe, comments, "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. 

"While a wholesale change in strategy takes commitment and long-term investment, the benefits are undeniable across all currencies that matterfrom customer loyalty and satisfaction to a better bottom line."

According to Adobe, although deprecation is on the horizon, 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 theyre very effective, while a quarter (23%) of respondents surveyed in Australia believe that third-party cookies arent going anywhere.

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 dont 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.

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, the researchers state.

According to Adobe's study, 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.

In some countries, the numbers are more extreme; 54% of leaders surveyed in Australia expect either devastating (31%) or significant (23%) impacts from cookie deprecation.

Many heavy third-party cookie users believe they don't have a choice, with more than 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.

One in three respondents (37%) say they cant get the resources to evolve their strategies, a number that rises to over half of leaders (56%) in Australia.

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.

Despite these numbers, the researchers state that customer data platforms (CDPs) are helping brands prepare for a cookieless future, and a cookieless now.

The research found that over half (54%) of APAC leaders who use CDPs say theyve 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%).