Mobile Ad Spending Still Lags in Canada - eMarketer

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Mobile Ad Spending Still Lags in Canada

Metrics need to improve to see greater spend

May 21, 2013

Smartphone and tablet penetration are rising fast in Canada. Yet Canada dramatically lags similar economies in mobile ad spending, according to a new eMarketer report, “Canada Mobile: Advertisers Trail Users' Uptake of Mobile.”

But spending is ramping up, with projections of large annual growth rates through 2017. In 2013, eMarketer projects, spending will grow by 88.6%, reaching CA$251.5 million ($251.5 million).

Mobile Internet Ad Spending in Canada, 2011-2017 (millions of C$ and % change)

Smartphone usage in Canada has soared in the past two years. As of January 2013, 47% of internet users in Canada reported using a smartphone, according Ipsos Reid’s February 2013 “Mobil-ology” report. That was a significant increase from a year earlier, when 34% of Canada’s internet users were smartphone users, and is more than double the penetration rate of just two years before.

Meanwhile, tablet usage in Canada more than doubled to 21% of internet users in January 2013, up from 10% in the January prior, according to Ipsos Reid.

The increase in mobile adoption is changing internet traffic patterns in Canada. In February 2013, more than 15% of total page views came from mobile, according to Adobe’s “Digital Index.” Tablets drove that growth, representing 8.7% of total page views in Canada. Smartphones registered 6.8%.

Smartphone and Tablet Internet Traffic in Select Countries, Feb 2013 (% of total page views)

Despite mobile uptake, however, marketers in Canada have found it challenging to secure funds for mobile programs, with finance departments demanding proof of payback from their marketing counterparts before committing dollars to mobile.

eMarketer projects consistent growth in mobile ad spending through 2017, as marketers become more adept at measuring payback. By 2017, total spend is projected to reach CA$1.28 billion ($1.28 billion).

Despite the country’s increasing mobile ad investment, Canada’s spending rate of US$20 per mobile internet user in 2013 is just 40% that of the US and the UK.

Top Countries, Ranked by Mobile Internet Ad Spending per Mobile Phone Internet User, 2013

A number of mobile strategists say that one way to persuade clients who are skeptical about mobile is to offer it as part of a larger digital strategy. Dedicated mobile budgets, especially in Canada, are rare.

Deploying a mobile strategy that has a direct impact on profit is another sure way to garner support for future mobile funding.

Pizza Pizza, which operates more than 500 fast food delivery and pickup restaurants primarily in the province of Ontario, turned to mobile in its attempt to relieve the operating burden on a phone-based ordering system that routed all orders from a centralized phone number to local outlets. Today, 35% of total orders are processed via digital channels, and mobile-generated ordering accounts for greater than 10% of orders.

“We’re concentrating heavily in the mobile area to create channels that our customers immediately want to use to place an order,” said Amar Narain, Pizza Pizza’s director of information technology.

The full report, “Canada Mobile: Advertisers Trail Users' Uptake of Mobile,” also answers these key questions:

  • What are the unique market conditions in Canada for mobile?
  • To what degree are marketers in Canada budgeting for mobile marketing?
  • What are the obstacles to mobile ad spending in Canada?
  • What mobile marketing tactics are working now?

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


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