As privacy laws reshape the way we collect data online, our Customer Insights and Growth Lead, Tim Higgins, shares how businesses can prepare and adapt.

It’s noon in Sydney, and I’m at my kitchen table, shopping for an electric kettle on my phone. Like most customers, I gather information before making an online purchase, checking reviews and comparing prices. As I click on the next link, a familiar pop-up greets me: accept cookies?

 Like 44% of Australians, I opt out of third-party cookies1. Even so, marketers currently have ample data to track the impacts of a digital ad spend – but change is fast approaching. Third-party cookies – the backbone of our tracking ecosystem – are poised to disappear. For years, leading marketers have utilized cookie-based measurement to optimize their spend and personalize online experiences.

Recently, Facebook commissioned Accenture to understand how experts view these changes. Between these interviews and our own experience delivering measurement solutions, we concluded that professionals should focus on three key points heading into the cookie-less future.

Shift to First-Party Data

Though third-party data will be limited, we can track what happens on owned digital channels. Engagement is the key here – think: where customers are clicking, think: what’s resonating – and can be measured, interpreted, and acted upon, optimizing interactions that drive growth. Additionally, reducing our reliance on third-party data, like that collected by browsers, will improve data reliability and be crucial for compatibility with industry innovations as they become available.

 Be Flexible

The marketing industry relies on rigid KPIs to uphold accountability. In fact, 75% of organizations interviewed said the primary purpose of their measurement strategy was to justify marketing spending and run business as usual reporting.2

Set-and-forget style KPIs won’t hold in a privacy-first world. I propose a shift in thinking; use your measurement not to judge success, but to inform better holistic decision making. If we prioritize accountability without acknowledging how measurements will vastly change, the inevitable result is a cut to spending, inhibiting growth. On the other hand, loosening our grip on KPIs empowers marketers to better align decision making to performance and growth.

 The Future is Now

The most important thing companies can do right now is to connect with customers on digital channels. We do this by continuing to care about accurate measurement and personalized experiences. Prepare a framework for the world ahead that emphasizes growth and customer advocacy through measurement and flexibility. By updating measurement approaches now, companies will position themselves ahead of the game to reach their customers in the new-normal of the privacy age.


1 Forbes, “50 Stats Showing Why Companies Need to Prioritize Consumer Privacy”, June 22, 2020

2 Forbes, “Actionable Insights: The Missing Link Between Data and Business Value.” April 26, 2016


This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.

Copyright © 2021 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture and its logo are registered trademarks of Accenture. This document refers to marks owned by third parties.  All such third-party marks are the property of their respective owners.  No sponsorship, endorsement or approval of this content by the owners of such marks is intended, expressed or implied.

Tim Higgins

Lead – Customer Insights and Growth, Applied Intelligence, ANZ

Subscribe to Accenture's Anztrends Blog Subscribe to Accenture's Anztrends Blog