The 2014 Canadian Media Usage Trends (CMUST) report, the only study of its kind, documents consumers’ ever-shifting media consumption across various digital platforms and devices, chronicling how new and evolving technologies impact the digital habits of Canadian consumers.
This year’s CMUST report details how the ‘Internet of Things’ is providing increasing opportunities for digital advertisers to reach customers wherever they may be, options which are greatly expanded as smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices become even more ubiquitous.
The Internet of Things, widely recognized as the next evolution of the Internet, has been reshaping advertising in recent years. The future of advertising will be defined by brand experiences that resonate with customers and the way they interact with an increasing array of platforms. Marketing is getting smarter, users are simultaneously consuming multiple media channels, customer analysis can be conducted in real-time and there is an inexorable shift to mobile, raising the very real prospect that advertisers will soon spend more on mobile campaigns than on desktop search ads, which are losing market share with each passing year.
The 2014 CMUST report examines these trends from a uniquely Canadian perspective. Make no mistake, there are critical characteristics that differentiate Canadians’ online engagement from that of our neighbors south of the border or overseas. For one thing, Canadians, who have already embraced digital as a whole more than people in most nations, are particularly immersed in mobile, and this is reflected in online advertising expenditures.
Digital advertising now exceeds all other media ad expenditure in Canada, comprising a 31.3 percent share of overall media in 2014. Canada ranks seventh globally in per capita digital ad spending at $136.55 per Internet user, well above the global average of $50.62. While Canada lags behind world leader Australia ($264.45) and even the US ($200.57), it far outranks such super-connected nations like Japan ($88.25), Finland ($85.42), South Korea ($62.11) and France ($61.50).
Canadians love their smartphones, and as such devices become as common as landlines once were, so too does the amount spent on mobile advertising increase. Mobile ad spend as a subset of digital is increasing at an even faster rate. Overall, CMUST found that digital media ad spending reached nearly $4 billion in 2014. Of that, almost $1 billion was spent on mobile advertising. That’s a 115 percent increase from 2013, and CMUST expects it to soar to $4 billion out of a total of nearly $6 billion spent on digital advertising by 2018.
But it’s more than a case of more users leading to more expenditure. It’s what users are doing with their smartphones that is exciting advertisers. Users are turning to their mobile devices for everyday tasks like banking. In 2014, CMUST respondents reported a 172 percent increase in mobile banking over 2013.
This trend will only gain momentum. IAB Canada predicts total investment in mobile will soar by more than 400 percent over the next four years, despite the fact that the overall mobile growth rate has peaked and is actually declining because so many people own and use the devices that the market has reached saturation.
The ‘Internet of Things’ is here to stay. Wall Street brokerage firm Morgan Stanley forecasts that a staggering 75 billion devices will be connected to the ‘Internet of Things’ by 2020. And with Canadians ranking among the world’s most prolific mobile users, expect advertisers to continue to find new and creative ways of incorporating consumer mobile habits into their marketing strategies.
We should see more than just spending more on mobile marketing; we’ll likely see integrated approaches which use traditional advertising to drive mobile sales. As technology and its use evolve, so too will the way in which advertisers approach consumer engagement.
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