Lauren is a self proclaimed marketing nerd who loves to analyze, organize, and colour code EVERYTHING! Lauren also loves to hang out at the gym or in the mountains, and has an (unhealthy) obsession with Disney movies.

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The Must-See Results from this Year’s IAB Canada CMUST Study

I tend to write blogs around Canada Day because I love writing about Canadians – we’re just so awesome! Last year I wrote about just how unique we Canadians are; from other countries and even from province to province. This year I want to write about a great Canadian study that IAB Canada conducts annually to track changes in Canadian media usage.

Maple leaf on TV screen

What is the IAB Canada CMUST Study?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada is “a national voice and thought leader of the Canadian interactive marketing and advertising industry”. They are a trusted organization for information related to standards and best practices in paid media. We use their research often in our plans to inform us of how much reach and time our target audiences spend on different channels. 

Their annual CMUST study tracks reach and time spent on media, including up and coming channels like Connected TVs and Smart Speakers. 

We’ll take you through the highlights of this study – what’s the same, what’s new, and what to watch for. 

Internet and TV Have the Highest Reach

Since IAB started collecting data in 2001, it’s no surprise that reach via the Internet has grown significantly. However, while many people think your good ol’ TV is dying, TV still has the highest reach among Canadians 18+, with Internet reach coming in a close second. 

When breaking this data down further into smaller age segments, the largest change we see is that Internet reach decreases in demographics 55+ and TV reach increases.

Magazine and Newspaper are the two channels that have seen a consistent decline in reach over time. While this may cause marketers to quickly take these channels off the table, there are still certain situations that are great fits for these media. For example, we have leveraged transit-based print publications to reach audiences who are more likely to ride transit. Of course, if you have the budget, magazine is still a great awareness tactic, especially if you have a very visual brand (think a nice full-page colour ad with beautiful imagery).

The Difference between Reach and Time Spent

Another angle the study looks at is not only how much of the population we can reach with each channel, but how much time in a week they spend using those channels. Ideally, you want to pick a channel that has good reach and high time spent to maximize exposure.

Again, TV and Internet come in at the top, spending more than 1,200 minutes per week with each of these media.

One interesting change the data shows is that time spent with TV and Radio skyrockets in groups older than 35, and time spent on the Internet decreases. This gives us good rationale to choose broadcast channels if your target audience skews a bit older.

What Devices are We Using?

There are so many ways to access the Internet nowadays, and the number of connected devices seems to increase constantly. It can be helpful to know which devices people use most to make the most of your media budget – if we know that one device is heavily used then we can put more emphasis on channels and targeting towards those devices. 

The good ol’ desktop still has the highest penetration, but the proportion of the population that has one has been quite stable for the last few years. Smartphones, on the other hand, have seen stable growth in the last five years and come in a close second in terms of penetration. For the younger 18-34 demographic, smartphone penetration is actually higher than desktop. 

It’s not surprising that desktop and mobile phones are the most-used devices, but what else is gaining popularity in Canada? One quick riser is connected TV – think the Smart TV in your living room. Penetration is at 50% for adults 18+ this year, up from about 20% in 2013. This growth coincides with the fact that most TVs these days can connect to the Internet (sorry, old tube TV, you’re smart too!). So how can we leverage this? Platforms like Google are starting to realize that more and more people are watching YouTube on their TVs on top of their phones and computers. After all, why not watch a cat reacting to cucumbers on a 55” screen? Hilarious. So, Google responded by being able to target connected TVs as a device in late 2018. 

Another up and comer is Smart Speakers. The usage growth of these devices is incredible and is penetrating the market faster than TVs did when they first came out, according to a Voicebot.AI study in 2018. It’s no question that Smart Speakers are creating an incredible opportunity for brands and advertisers; SEO experts are finding ways to get their results delivered via Alexa and the Google Assistant, and it’s only a matter of time before Google or Amazon offer voice advertisements.

One type of device that hasn’t grown as much in Canada compared to others is connected cars. One hypothesis is that growth is limited due to the high cost of mobile data in Canada. With the recent release of unlimited data plans from major carriers, we could see greater growth in the upcoming years. 

Video: The Growing Opportunity

IAB estimates that out of the 4,888 weekly minutes spent using the Internet per capita in Canada, about 16% of those minutes are spent watching videos. When the time spent is compared to the amount of advertising for that specific channel, advertisers are under-utilizing this channel. Yes, it is more expensive to produce a video compared to a static image ad, but it could be worth it, especially since more and more platforms offer video formats now. 

If you are investing in video production, do you wonder whether you need to create separate spots for TV and online video? After all, it is best practice to create static assets catered to the size of the ad (i.e. what you create for a mobile banner would not be the same as a billboard). 

Onmicom Media Group and Facebook partnered to understand whether the device someone sees an ad on (they looked at desktop vs mobile and live vs. programming on broadcast TV) influences their attention, focus, and motivation to the product advertised. They found that the device did not have much of an influence at all! Another factor they looked at was the placement itself – comparing ads on high-quality content sites vs.your average piece of content. This part of the study showed that the quality of the placement has a strong impact on a person’s connection with a product. 

Marketers can rejoice that they don’t need to spend money on creating multiple concepts for their video ads. However, brand safety and placement quality should be seriously considered when putting those ads into market. At Vovia, we have high standards for brand safety to ensure client’s ads are not seen in unfavourable environments. As part of our optimization, placement management is done continuously throughout the campaign to ensure ads are placed on higher-quality sites.

The IAB CMUST study shows just how much behaviour can evolve over time, even from year to year. It provides us with up-to-date information about device usage and trends in the Canadian market, which informs our strategies to drive success for our clients. 

Want more research to support your marketing plans? Have questions about video advertising? Give us a shout! We have access to many industry sources to help put data behind your marketing decisions. 

All data sourced from the 2018 annual IAB CMUST Study.