Marketing: the digital revolution has begun, SMEs are ‘poorly prepared’

Major internet operators will gradually restrict access to their users’ personal data to comply with new laws passed around the world. (Photo: Christine Hume Unsplash)

From the end of third-party cookies to the arrival of Bill 25, Quebec companies are facing a fundamental movement towards better data protection on the Internet. Do they understand the scale of the revolution taking place? If we trust the third edition of the “Québec Digital Marketing” study carried out by Varibase with the participation and partnership of Eulerian, nothing could be less certain. Deals.

The responses of companies, especially SMEs, clearly show a “lack of preparation”. The first red light on the board: the fact that 35% of 202 Quebec companies surveyed between August 29 and November 19, 2022, declared that they did not comply with Bill 25, the first provisions of which came into force on September 22. Among small businesses (less than $1 million in revenue), the noncompliance rate is 58%. “I thought companies were better prepared than that,” admits Eric Azara, president of Varibase. However, the leader is not defeated. “Since the first provisions of the law are relatively simple to implement, latecomers will be able to catch them.” The new obligations include the appointment of a “data protection officer” and the creation of an “incident register”.

This is not the apocalypse

The second part of the study aimed to measure companies’ readiness for what marketers call the “end of third-party cookies,” the decision by web giants to no longer allow web browsers to be used for retargeting purposes.

When Google announced it in 2019, experts called the change a “doomsday apocalypse.” Cookies third”. Since then, the shock formula has lost its luster. First, the California company has postponed its project twice – the new deadline is 2024. Then you should know that according to Varibase, 47% of companies (71% of small companies ) does not retarget marketing Only 19% of businesses (11% of small businesses) rely entirely on Google and Facebook ads to reach their customer base.

You have to see the phenomenon as a whole, explains Eric Azara. Major web operators, i.e. GAFAs (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) will gradually restrict access to their users’ personal data to comply with new laws passed around the world.

Know your customers better

“Companies can compensate for the disappearance of third-party cookies by setting up processes to collect proprietary data themselves,” explains the manager. They are not starting from scratch: according to the study, 85% already claim to have “implemented a data collection mechanism”. Overall, the companies surveyed here rate their readiness at 4.1 out of 10. Eric Azara points out that the problem is that most are content with minimal effort – either requesting information via a website contact form (61%). a minority are leveraging “every interaction” to enrich their customer profiles (10%) or have built a “lifetime global collection” (14%).

The picture darkens in terms of “data activation”, where companies give themselves the lowest score in the survey (2.8 out of 10). While many are implementing “marketing automation scenarios” (38%), few are building “interactive” relationships (11%) and fewer are developing a “globally comprehensive” journey (8%). In addition, the study reveals a marked difference between small business readiness and medium-sized businesses ($1 million to $50 million in revenue), with an overall median of 2 out of 10. , or large companies (revenues over 50 million dollars) increased from 10 to 5.

“What is interesting in the end Cookiesso it will force companies to demand their customers,” says Philippe Bussière, president of digital marketing agency Phare36. The marketing automation expert notes that Facebook advertising is not the only digital marketing tool. “Companies can also drive potential customers to their websites. they can use organic methods such as being cited in search engines or publishing content on social networks.”

Two big payoffs await companies that regain control of their digital marketing, declares Eric Azara. “The first is financial, because the company no longer has to pay GAFA to promote its products. The second concerns the quality of the data collected. By removing the filter applied by the big platforms, the company gains a deeper knowledge of its customers.” Armed with this knowledge, companies can then “send the right message at the right time, through the right channel. “.


Some findings from the Quebec Digital Marketing study

The results of a survey conducted by Varibase show that the bigger the company, the higher its maturity and readiness. In fact, the average score for businesses with revenues of less than $1 million 30%. Average for companies between $1M and $50M 42%as it rises 45% For businesses with more than $50 million in revenue.

Data collection

To the question: “Which proprietary data collection mechanism have you enabled?” », 61% Representatives of participating companies say they have created forms that collect declarative information at various touchpoints (account creation, newsletter registration, white paper download, discount coupon redemption, etc.). 10% performed a systematic collection in each interaction. 15% Most of the respondents have not yet systematized the collection of proprietary data 14% We have implemented global collection across the entire lifecycle “through all channels to actively and voluntarily share declarative, transactional, behavioral and intentional data to achieve the level of recognition and service the user expects from us.”

Compliance with Law 25

To the question: “Does your collection of proprietary information comply with Law No. 25, which will come into force in September 2022?” », 49% According to the companies that participated in the survey, they have identified a person responsible for the protection of personal data, defined their role and duties, as well as an access to information and personal data protection committee. 35% Answer that their compliance project is not yet on the agenda.

9% it even complies with stage 2 of the law on transparency and anonymization of personal data, only 7% it already corresponds to stages 1 and 2.


“What is the most advanced solution to use for your retargeting strategies?” » almost half of the companies (47%) say they are not retargeting. Almost a quarter (24%) claims contextual retargeting with proprietary data to better understand users, their preferences and interests. Contextual targeting is the delivery of ads based on page content to target the right people at the right time in programmatic advertising strategies.

19% Most of the respondents only do retargeting provided by GAFA and intend to use the new solution offered by Google based on TOPICS API. This new thematic targeting feature is stored entirely on the user’s device without using external servers, including Google.

On the other hand, 10% do something called dynamic retargeting (DCO). Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) is a display advertising technology that enables the creation of highly personalized digital ads (banners, ads, videos, etc.) in real time, with content tailored to each individual depending on the relevant contextual elements.


Companies were also surveyed about the level of transparency applied during data collection. To this question, 44% Most respondents say they need to increase the transparency of their collections. 31% use the traditional opt-in banner for witnesses For the user to accept the collection of navigation data and first-party cookies, it is in accordance with Law 25. in the house of 14% for companies, it is easy and clear for the user to understand why the data is collected, and the latter can easily choose whether or not to share the information he wants.

For a minority of companies (11%), each user can access the information they know about him at any time. It understands why each piece of information is collected and used. It may also request modification or deletion.

Analysis tools

When asked if they think current analytics tools are up to Bill 25, 38% most companies answer “yes for some tools, we need to confirm for the rest”. About one-third of respondents (31%) say no or say “I don’t know”. 16% must confirm with suppliers to respond. In 15% cases, companies say yes to all their tools.

Source: Varibase

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