The past two years have spurred the greatest acceleration of digital transformation for Australian B2C companies globally, advancing their digital strategies by an average of eight years, ahead of the global average of 6.5 years, according to new research from leading customer engagement platform, Twilio.

Third-party cookies, which are now blocked by Firefox and Safari, will also be blocked by Google Chrome by the end of 2023. When asked what kind of customer data their marketing strategy currently relies on, 85% of companies said that at least half or more of their data was third-party. Meanwhile, 86% of Australian consumers want brands to make use of only first-party data when delivering the kind of personalised experience they now expect.

The deprecation of cookies will cause even more difficulty for brands who rely on such cookies to identify and track visitors to their websites. While 98%of Australian companies say they are somewhat fully prepared for a cookieless world, 45% of companies predict that the impending changes will lead to lower return on investment on their marketing spend. 

Personalisation has emerged as one of the most important aspects of delivering a competitive brand experience that will attract customers and create brand loyalty. In fact, the consequences of not providing personalised experiences to customers can be severe, with nearly half of consumers saying they’ll stop using a brand if it doesn’t personalise their experience.

However, while both brands and consumers agree that personalisation is important, the report uncovered gaps between the two groups. 

For instance, most companies (88%) surveyed believe that personalisation is critical to their customer engagement strategy. Yet while 81% of Australian companies claim to provide good or excellent personalised experiences to customers, more than half of consumers (56%) disagree, reporting bad, poor or average personalisation. 

“The research clearly shows that companies that prioritise digital customer engagement reap the biggest rewards,” Twilio chief customer officer, Glenn Weinstein said.

“Personalisation is getting harder to deliver, with high customer expectations, changing technologies, and the diminishing value of third-party cookies. We’ve seen five fundamentals to overcoming these challenges: embrace digital, personalise every interaction, shift to first-party data, close the trust gap, and avoid engagement fatigue by increasing the quality of your interactions.”

Twilio regional vice president for Australia and New Zealand, Kristen Pimpini added, “Many Australian companies accelerated their digital customer engagement over the last two years, creating entirely new and innovative ways of connecting with and servicing customers.

“While the research highlights that those efforts have translated to strong wins, it also shows us that they are still some way off in meeting consumer expectations. Companies need to close the experience gap, respond to consumers’ expectations of flexibility and choice in how they interact with brands.”