Search and social drives digital ad spending even higher

According to SMI, growth is not coming at the expense of other platforms, but the expansion of new digital investments.

Ad spend in November reached $644 million, an all-time-monthly high for the Canadian ad market, according to the latest report from Standard Media Index.

That brings year-to-date ad spend to $5.7 billion, up from $4.9 billion in 2020, but still slightly below the pre-pandemic days of 2019 where the total ad spend was $6 billion.

Digital continues to drive an increased share of the media mix in Canada, up two percentage points from 2020, accounting for 55.8% share or $3.16 billion. The increased share in digital has not been at the expense of linear TV, which remained flat at 34.8% or $1.97 billion.

According to SMI, the shift has not been driven by growth in ad-supported OTT and CTV offerings as it has in the U.S., but by search and social – specifically, investment among global tech companies like Facebook, Google, TikTok, Pinterest and Amazon has been a driving force. Streaming audio, led by Spotify (which has made concerted efforts to attract new advertisers in the past year), has also been a major contributor to the growth in digital spend.

Additionally, the pandemic’s impact on OOH and terrestrial radio continues. Spend for both OOH and radio fell approximately one percentage point compared to 2020, accounting for $236 million spent on radio and $219 million on OOH.

Spend on newspapers ($49.27 million) and magazines ($24.97 million) stayed flat from 2020, each accounting for less than 1 percent of the total ad spend in Canada so far this year.