Canadian Marketers Boost Digital Video Ad Spend; Look to GRPs, Targeting

Online video has been slow to gather speed north of the border, but new research reveals that digital video advertising is growing in 2012 in Canada.

A study of more than 100 ad executives in Canada conducted by ad platform Brightroll and IAB Canada found that about 45% of agencies said that more than half of their RFPs over the last year have included digital video, and that’s a 10% rise from 2011. About 68% of respondents said digital video is as or more effective than traditional TV.

In the last year, the targeting priorities for Canadian marketers have started to shift. Behavioral targeting is most important to 32% -- about on par with last year -- while demographic targeting is now cited as most important to only 19%, down from 32% in 2011. Audience targeting is considered most important for 20%, up from only 8% a year ago.            

The issue of measurement and GRPs is also front and center in Canada, as it is in the United States. About 26% of Canadian respondents said the use of GRPs in online video is a top area of interest for more research, although GRP is considered the least important metric for success by agencies in video campaigns, the study said. Ironically, more data on the use of GRPs may usher in more spending. “Respondents see research around GRPs compared to TV as the most encouraging driver for increasing online video ad spending by advertisers, jumping to 65 percent in 2012 from 55 percent in 2011,” the report said.

By and large, Canadian marketers are most comfortable backing premium content. Two-thirds of agency executives prefer to buy from broadcasters or ad networks, the study said.

For comparison purposes, Brightroll’s report on the state of digital video advertising in the United States, released in June, found that about two-thirds of U.S. agency executives said online video was equally or more effective than TV, and 43% cited targeting as the most valuable aspect of online video.

Overall, Canadian advertisers will increase spending this year for online video advertising by 43 percent to more than $74 million, according to Magnaglobal’s Advertising Forecast 2011, the report said.

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