Cheetah Digital Study Finds Consumers Uncomfortable With Cookie-Fueled Ads

In partnership with eConsultancy, “Digital Consumer Trends Index 2021” uncovers consumer expectations of brands


CHICAGO – March 9, 2021 – Cheetah Digital, a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider for the modern marketer, today announces the results of its 2021 survey in conjunction with eConsultancy, “2021 Digital Consumer Trends Index.” The report discusses the findings of a 30 point survey of more than 5,000 consumers across six countries. Survey topics include what consumers expect from the brands they do business with online, the channels they want to connect on and the data they’re prepared to share in return for more personalized experiences at every stage of the customer lifecycle; from acquisition through to loyalty.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic changed the expectations consumers have for brands. Although consumers had more time to interact with brands digitally, they’re more fickle than ever. Consumers want both water-tight privacy and true personalization. They’re looking for loyalty programs that don’t reward them simply based on how much they spend. Consumers are loyal to brands who recognize them for who they are, and deliver relevant content and recommendations. Marketers must adapt to these expectations and prepare for the final demise of cookies at the end of 2021.

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The only “privacy-friendly” substitute to cookies is first-party data,” said Cheetah Digital CMO, Richard Jones. “Consumers are tired of being tracked. Google, Apple, Mozilla and the likes all know it, so, of course they’re pushing out new solutions that look like a safe bet for marketers scrambling to replace cookies. Like it or not, the only way forward for brand marketers is first-party data. The future of marketing demands brands build their own databases and strengthen relationships with customers. There’s no excuse for not investing into the infrastructure to do so.


Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Email remains important: When it comes to driving sales, email beats banner ads, social media native apps, organic posts, and SMS by up to 92%, with almost half of consumers reporting they have purchased a product directly as a result of an email they received. 
  • Loyal customers will pay a premium: Consumers are loyal by nature, with two-thirds prepared to pay more or wait longer to purchase from a preferred brand. We have seen a decrease in consumers expecting a discount in return for their loyalty with exclusive access, personalized product recommendations, brand recognition, and community growing drivers of consumer loyalty. 
  • Facebook ads are a turn off: Whilst the global pandemic has led to a rise in idle thumbs scrolling social channels, almost two-thirds of consumers prefer to buy from brands that do not advertise on Facebook, and a staggering 79% would rather brands invest in loyalty programs rather than social advertising.
  • Cookies are creepy: The majority of consumers want to receive personalized content and offers from trusted brands and will readily share personal and preference data for it. However, this is from data they have proactively shared with the brand, they do not feel comfortable with cookie-fueled ads or location tracking — they see this as creepy marketing.
  • Ethical marketing is on the rise: Consumers are becoming more conscientious, whether it is selecting brands because of their approach to sustainability, or their stance around advertising on platforms that don’t do enough to curb harmful content. Brands need to heed the rising expectations of the ethical consumer. 

This follows Cheetah Digital’s recent debut of Cheetah Personalization. To learn more about the 2021 Digital Consumer Trends Index, visit

About Cheetah Digital

Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider for the modern marketer. The Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite enables marketers to create personalized experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies, underpinned by an engagement data platform that can scale to meet the changing demands of today's consumer. Many of the world’s best brands, including Hilton, Neiman Marcus, Walgreens, and Williams-Sonoma trust Cheetah Digital to help them drive revenue, build lasting customer relationships, and deliver a unique value exchange throughout the customer lifecycle. To learn more, visit

Kelsey Sowder
BLASTmedia for Cheetah Digital