RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • In a world without cookies, marketers urgently need new ways to drive customer acquisition and retention.
  • In light of new data privacy rules, major web browsers are set to ban third-party cookies by 2023. But right now, 82% of digital ads use cookies.
  • Marketers must find ways to entice customers with hyperpersonalized experiences, while protecting their privacy.
  • Accenture and Adobe have identified the top five plays to jumpstart the journey to privacy-first personalization.


Consumers are increasingly concerned about data privacy. Regulators have stepped up action, introducing strict new rules to control data collection and ad-tracking. These range from the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD) and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

In response, most major web browsers are cracking down on third-party cookies. The last holdout – Google Chrome – is set to block the use of all third-party cookies by 2023. This means massive change is in store for marketers, who currently use tracking cookies in 82% of digital ads. All this as marketing functions grapple with the shift in consumer behavior triggered by the pandemic.

Moving into a new world of opportunity

Most importantly, top marketers recognize that a cookieless world should be welcomed, not viewed as a retrograde step. Customers expect personalized, compelling digital experiences. And third-party cookies were never going to be able to support these.

Bottom line? Companies now have an unprecedented opportunity to develop a robust first-party data strategy, backed by transparent and responsible data stewardship, that can help grow business value over the long term.

Seizing competitive advantage in a cookieless world

With cookies on the way out, companies must find new ways to gain insights into consumers, measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, and craft outstanding customer experiences. To support them, Accenture and Adobe have identified the top five plays to jumpstart the journey to privacy-first personalization:

  1. Assess cookieless readiness. This is about identifying where companies depend on third-party cookies, and finding robust ways to replace them.
  2. Determine first-party data strategy. Stitching together third-party information based on customer devices may have worked in the past, but it’s an unreliable approach in the world of smartphones and wearable devices. Since first-party data covers durable identifiers like email addresses and phone numbers, it enables organizations to build richer, more accurate customer profiles based on people, rather than non-durable identifiers.
  3. Assemble the dream team. Make sure your organization has the right skills to gather and use first-party data effectively. This might mean hiring new people, upskilling your existing workforce, or a combination of both.
  4. Build strategic partnerships. Collaborating with other organizations can help fill gaps in first-party data, expand your reach and increase customer acquisition.
  5. Establish trust through transparency. Consumers are concerned about data privacy. Their trust has been eroded after seeing too many companies succumb to data leaks, cyberattacks and/or breaches. To rebuild consumer trust, companies must prioritize transparency and consent in how data is collected and used.

Creating unrivalled experiences, at enterprise scale

For over a decade, Accenture has delivered award-winning customer experiences powered by Adobe. Recognized as Adobe’s most decorated partner, with specializations in Adobe Analytics, Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Campaign and Marketo Engage, Accenture works with Adobe to design, build, and run transformative customer experiences without the use of third-party cookies.

The Adobe Experience Cloud, a connected suite of best-in-class, cross-channel, digital marketing solutions, powers the experience and puts brands in control of activation through privacy by design. Together, Accenture and Adobe help the world’s top brands create purposeful connections that truly make an impact through a unique combination of services and solutions.

“Accenture has proven to be a leader in helping clients realize the full potential of the Adobe platform to fuel transformation and accelerate value.”

— AMIT AHUJA, VP, Experience Cloud Platform and Products at Adobe

Currently, 82% of digital ads use tracking cookies. But most major web browsers are set to block the use of third-party cookies by 2023.

89%

of campaigns using third-party cookies overstate reach.

41%

of campaigns using third-party cookies understate display and video conversions.

77%

of CEOs know their company must fundamentally change the way it engages and interacts with its customers.

“You’re going to need to augment your data. This means a first-party data exchange, where you can work with other well-known brands – brands that matter to you or your consumer.”

— ASA WHILLOCK, Director, Product Operations and Strategy at Adobe

Jim LaLonde

Lead – Adobe Business Group, Global and North America


Julie Hoffmann

Global Head of Industry Strategy at Adobe

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