Epsilon Study Finds Marketers Disappointed, Frustrated and Overwhelmed Ahead of Third-Party Cookie Deprecation

67% of Marketers Surveyed Have Negative Feelings About the Elimination of Third-Party Cookies and Mobile Ad Identifiers like IDFA; 62% Believe the Changes Will Not Help Consumers

CHICAGO — October 27, 2020 — Epsilon® today released the initial findings of its study into marketers’ perceptions, readiness and concerns regarding the future deprecation of third-party cookies and changes to mobile ad identifiers (MAIDs) like Apple’s IDFA.

The study, conducted in partnership with global research firm Phronesis Partners Inc., surveyed more than 250 U.S. mid-to-large enterprise marketers from retail, financial services, CPG, restaurant and travel industries. Survey participants were asked to provide insight on a range of topics related to third-party cookies and MAIDs, including the extent of their reliance on the key identifiers, vendors’ ability to develop viable solutions to replace the identifiers and how the changes compare to the impact of GDPR and CCPA.

Key findings include:

  • 67% of respondents have negative feelings about the pending changes, with 44% responding that they are disappointed with the plans.
  • 70% of respondents believe digital advertising will be adversely affected by these changes and will take a step backwards.
  • 62% of respondents believe the changes will not help consumers.
    • 63% indicated the changes will result in little to no improvement to consumers’ control of personal data.
    • 55% think consumers will receive a less personalized ad experience.
    • 50% believe privacy concerns will persist.
  • 69% of respondents believe the changes will have a greater impact than GDPR and CCPA. 

“These changes have caused mass frustration for marketers who are trying to protect privacy without sacrificing the consumer experience,” said Ric Elert, President and Chief Operating Officer at Epsilon. “There was positive intent, but this research shows that there is little confidence that consumers will actually benefit from these changes; in fact, the experience across devices and channels is likely to get worse. Thankfully, there is a path forward where marketers can lean into first party data and people-based ID strategies that are not dependent on device IDs or third-party cookies. By pursuing this type of future-proof identity strategy, you can achieve the best of both worlds – personalization at the individual level with respect for choice and privacy.”

The survey also explored marketers’ current preparedness in adapting their digital advertising strategy to account for the deprecation of third-party cookies.

  • Less than half (46%) of respondents are “very prepared.”
  • The changes are forcing many marketers (69%) to take active steps to prepare. The top three actions include:
    • building a customer data platform (67%),
    • strategizing around first-party data (62%), and
    • building out a private ID graph (60%).

Since 2012, Epsilon’s industry-leading CORE ID has enabled the company’s clients to future-proof their marketing efforts. Epsilon’s 200+ million consumer profiles are anchored in deterministic transactional data and built from years of historical and real-time data across more than 7,000 attributes. It is this deep understanding of individuals that powers Epsilon PeopleCloud, the marketing platform for personalizing consumer journeys with performance transparency, and enables brands to anticipate consumer needs, activate messages across the entire customer journey and prove outcomes.

Visit to download the executive summary and find additional resources to help you prepare for consumer identification and personalization in a cookie-less world.


About Epsilon

Epsilon is the leader in outcome-based marketing. We enable marketing that’s built on proof, not promises. Through Epsilon PeopleCloud, the marketing platform for personalizing consumer journeys with performance transparency, Epsilon helps marketers anticipate, activate and prove measurable business outcomes. Powered by CORE ID®, the most accurate and stable identity management platform representing 200+ million people, Epsilon’s award-winning data and technology is rooted in privacy by design and underpinned by powerful AI. With more than 50 years of experience in personalization and performance working with the world’s top brands, agencies and publishers, Epsilon is a trusted partner leading CRM, digital media, loyalty and email programs. Positioned at the core of Publicis Groupe, Epsilon is a global company with over 8,000 employees in over 40 offices around the world. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter at @EpsilonMktg.