UK brands unprepared for third-party cookie phaseout, says Braze report

With new privacy updates from Apple and Google coming into force, as well as a deluge of data surfacing from new digital sources, UK marketers are facing a challenging 2022. That’s according to the second annual Customer Engagement Review, published by Braze.

The report combines data from the Braze platform with results of a global survey—developed in partnership with Wakefield Research—of 140 marketing decision makers from B2C brands in the UK with annual revenue of USD $10+ million, providing key insight into what companies will be grappling with in 2022. 

Although first-party data players such as large publishers will be in a good position to hoover up ad spend once third-party cookies are gone for good, there’s still much trepidation about what is undoubtedly an industry-changing shake-up, with German publishers recently asking Google to reconsider the move.

Key findings for UK brands

The research by Braze reveals:

1. Reliance on third-party cookies remains high: Despite Google announcing plans to phase out third-party cookies in 2023, less than a third (28 per cent) of brands say they will be reducing their reliance on this data in 2022. That raises the possibility that many companies may find themselves needing to rethink their approach to customer data ahead of next year’s big deadline.

2. New privacy measures will require additional budget: Marketing budgets could potentially be on the rise, with 98 per cent of UK brands expecting to increase their spending in 2022 to cope with new privacy updates mandated by Apple and Google. Compliance with new regulations is also a top three investment area for brands and a priority for 43 per cent of respondents, highlighting the anticipated investment needed for companies to respond effectively to the shifting landscape.

Click here to get your free copy of FIPP’s in-depth report into the third-party cookie phaseout.

3. Data management is the top marketing challenge for brands:
Data management issues have grown more pressing over the past year. The top challenges UK marketers cite for the next 12 months are: Managing compliance and risk (36 per cent); applying data to business decisions (33 per cent); and collecting, integrating and managing marketing data (32 per cent).

4. Poor data management could cause chaos for consumers:
Without a well-managed customer engagement strategy, these privacy measures could have a significant impact on brands’ communications with consumers. Many marketers are reacting to the new privacy measures by increasing their marketing budget in two areas: Increasing the number of channels used (46 per cent); and boosting the frequency of marketing appeals (38 per cent). If this use of multiple channels isn’t managed holistically, this approach could find consumers receiving too many messages across different channels, turning them off and increasing the odds that they sour on the brands reaching out to them.

5. Anonymous users present an untapped opportunity:
Despite the challenges some brands face in managing first- and zero-party data, the report also reveals an untapped opportunity when it comes to anonymous users. These users—who take action on websites without logging in, opt to “continue as a guest,” or who haven’t been given an official identifier—made up 57 per cent of new users in 2021. Yet 80 per cent of them received no messaging from brands. That’s a major untapped audience that could potentially be motivated via thoughtful messaging to engage more frequently or to make purchases.

New challenges, new opportunities

Warrick Godfrey, VP, Industry Solutions at Braze, said, in connection with the findings: “Brands are facing their most significant data management challenge since GDPR was introduced three years ago. The ever-changing privacy restrictions from the tech giants [as followed closely by Jamie Gavin, in FIPP’s Weekly Media Tech Regulation Tracker]—in addition to the vast growth of data being created by digital channels—are making it harder than ever for marketers to optimise the way they communicate with customers.

“It’s never been more critical for brands to take control of first-party data and their customer relationships. Successful customer engagement in 2022 will mean improving the use of first- or zero-party data to personalize communications and bring harmony to cross-channel messaging.”

“We also see a huge untapped opportunity in anonymous users,” Godfrey noted. “To bring anonymous users into the fold, brands can turn to the first-party data they are already collecting, combined with other factors like location or session data for specific messages. They can also nudge this audience to convert via tactics like in-app surveys that gather additional insights into the preferences of anonymous users.”

Check out the full findings from the report here.


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