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Advertisers in Canada Race to Catch Up to Online Video Audiences

Online video ad spending not yet on par with online video audience

Online video consumption has grown rapidly in Canada. In fact, the country ranks second in the world in online video penetration. While advertisers have lagged behind consumer uptake, ad spending on online video grew rapidly in 2012, jumping 75% from the previous year, and is projected to continue growing sharply in coming years, according to a new eMarketer report, “Canada Online Video: Consumers Lead the Way.”

Watching video online is nearly universal in Canada. Nearly 92% of internet users over the age of 14 watched video at home or at work as of October 2012, according to comScore, a higher percentage than anywhere in the world except Argentina.

Advertisers in Canada have taken note of consumers’ online video viewing behavior. “More than those in the US or the UK, Canadian marketers truly implement cross-device video strategies, including online, mobile and connected TV,” said Brian Danzis, senior vice president of North American sales for Videology, a video-ad targeting platform.

Still, popular as online video viewing is in Canada, video ad spending is still quite low. eMarketer’s most recent estimates, made in December 2012, put online video ad spending in Canada at CA$127.8 million ($127.8 million) for 2012.

While a small number, that’s a huge jump over the previous year. Strong growth is projected through 2016, when eMarketer estimates online video ad spend in Canada will reach CA$360.5 million ($360.5 million).

eMarketer projects that online video ad spending growth will significantly outpace other ad formats in Canada during the next several years. Spending nearly doubled in 2011 and is expected to maintain double-digit gains through 2016.

Part of the reason that video spending will log such large growth rates is that it is starting from a low base. Online search ad spending in Canada in 2012, at CA$1.2 billion ($1.2 billion), was almost 10 times that of what was invested in online video, according to eMarketer estimates. And online display ad spending in 2012, at CA$954 million ($954 million), was more than six times that of online video.

Pre-roll will continue to be the ad unit of choice for online video advertisers in Canada, despite detractors pushing increased emphasis on interactive pre-roll. In terms of targeting, geographic will remain the dominant method.

Nearly nine in 10 video ads use geographic targeting, according to Q3 2012 data from Videology. Geotargeting is particularly important in Canada as a means of directing French language spots specifically to viewers in Quebec.


The full report, “Canada Online Video: Consumers Lead the Way” also answers these key questions:

  • What platforms are people in Canada using to watch online video?
  • What are the key measurements marketers are using to gauge performance of online video ads?
  • How much will marketers spend on video ads?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


Check out today’s other articles, “Mobile Makes Its Mark on Worldwide Facebook Ad Spend” and “Luxury Marketers Investing More in Digital.”

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