Majority of UK brands still rely on third-party cookies two years post Apple’s IDFA update

In the face of an almost industry-wide recognition that first-party cookies are better for the customer, brands are still failing to prioritise going cookie-less.

April 26 will mark two years since Apple’s IDFA changes required mobile apps to ask users for permission to collect and share their data. Users who “ask apps not to track” disallow access to their devices IDFA, making it far more difficult for platforms to collect third-party data.

A significant consequence of this change from Apple has been an increased need for companies to source more first-party data, which doesn’t rely on the use of cookies or a device’s IDFA.

Research from customer engagement platform Twilio indicates an almost industry-wide understanding that this change has helped users, with 89% of businesses reporting that first-party data improves customer experience.

This can also be beneficial for businesses in terms of building brand loyalty, as recent survey data indicates that 71% of UK consumers trust brands that only use first-party data in their personalisation efforts.

Despite this, just 5% of UK brands use entirely first-party data and over half (53%) still predominantly rely on third-party data. Three in ten (29%) report using an even mix of third-party and first-party data, while 14% use "mostly" first-party.

These findings were revealed in the second set of UK data released from Twilio’s fourth annual State of Customer Engagement Report, which surveyed more than 4,700 B2C leaders in key sectors across the world, plus a parallel survey of over 6,000 global consumers.

Consumers and cookies

The phaseout of third-party cookies has well and truly begun but with Google announcing it has postponed its deadline for their total demise in Chrome until next year, Twilio believes its research reflects that the end of cookies is as much about consumer demand as anything else.

Indicated in the first round of UK research from Twilio’s report, consumers’ patience for cookies is wearing thin, with almost one third (32%) often rejecting them altogether when visiting websites and half (50%) having left a website in the past 12 months rather than accept cookies.

Companies in the UK still have a lot of work to do to align their cookie usage with consumers’ expectations, and yet, shifting to first-party data is only a critical priority for a third (33%) of brands and just 38% of UK businesses are prioritising first-party data within their personalisation strategies.

“Brands shouldn’t see the transition to first-party data as something that is being forced upon them”

How long before consumers become fed up with the industry's lack of receptiveness to their demands? The delay from brands is somewhat puzzling, as several experts have argued that this pressure from consumers to shift from third-party to first-party data actually presents a real opportunity for brands to improve their long term market share.

Sam Richardson, Customer Engagement Consultant at Twilio, offered some insight: “Brands shouldn’t see the transition to first-party data as something that is being forced upon them. First-party data comes directly from consumers, so it is more accurate and better reflects present demand.

“This means there’s a massive opportunity here for companies to deliver safe, secure, and highly personalised customer experiences that can have a positive impact on their bottom line. With huge potential gains for customer engagement and long-term loyalty, first-party data must be at the core of any successful marketing strategy.”