A 2021 Q4 Industry Round-up – IAB Canada’s Report on Data

IAB Canada held its annual Report on Data event this week. This year’s discussions captured an industry that has undergone significant changes over the past two years while looking forward to tremendous opportunities around the corner. At the top of the agenda, was the 2021 CMUST study. The report indicated significant growth in Connect TV and audio and cited eCommerce as a major driver in the growth of digital ad spend over the coming years among other things. Further insights uncovered by PHD’s reporting this year touched on some core themes that all stakeholders in the value chain should be aware of. Throughout the day, these core topics were elaborated on by several industry thought leaders. Following are some top line notes on the three main themes and important highlights that emerged through our discussions on Tuesday.

Emerging Reach Opportunities

Digital media continues to dominate reach with 95% of Canadian adults in 2019 online spending 5X more of their time on digital channels compared to other media.  COVID had a major impact on the content trends and drive-up subscription-based digital media consumptions. Average monthly household subscriptions increased by 8% in 2020 vs 2019 as people were forced to stay indoors.

Connected TV and Audio were cited as two major areas of growth for online advertising in the coming year(s). 

Television remains the most important device in the household and Smart TV’s have higher adaptation amongst 18–34-year-olds than all adults overall (80%+ vs 70%+).

While Broadcast video in demand (BVOD) has room for growth (10% market penetration of all Canadians both 18-34-years and 18+), a staggering 2/3 of Canadian population consume video through SVOD and AVOD, with 18-34-year-olds spending nearly 10 hours and the younger cohorts nearly 15 hours per week on the medium.

There is room for growth in terms of time spent in Audio. Like video, in terms of adult audience reach across traditional Radio it achieves just over 85% reach and nearly 15 hours of listening with younger adults listening less than 10 hours per week.

Online Radio lags behind other audio formats with reach levels hovering at 20% of both age groups and listening of about 1 hour per week.

Podcasts are more popular amongst the younger group; just over a 1/3 of Canadian young adults listen to 2.5 hours of podcast content per week (more than double of that of Radio).

Policy & Socially Driven Changes

Privacy-driven changes to the media landscape are having a significant impact on the way in which media buyers are approaching their planning in the future. Understanding the various means to address audiences in a privacy-first way is key and discussions on Tuesday suggested that depending on the method used, there could be a constricted supply and consequently, a rise in costs.Once again, the industry is talking about value and as the demand for greater controls and quality increase, we could see a corresponding incline in CPMs.

While the industry prepares itself with alternative means to reach audiences without third party cookies, there is a renewed interest in getting first party data organized and segmented in such a way that it can effectively interact with the supply chain to derive as much value as possible. This reality brings the subject of clean rooms to top of mind and initiatives like the one described by Environics, are welcome to the industry. Using anonymously sampled data models for reach and frequency planning is a concept we will be discussing in detail in 2022 and beyond. 

Cross Media Measurement

Measurement remains top of mind on the buy-side. Reporting and measurement in a standardized way to make informed decisions based on effective media investments, is in high demand. The good news is that the industry is making some progress as it comes together to agree on baseline requirements and standards from which to base measurement on. While finalized solutions have a long way to go, the future looks promising, and the technology is finally available to work with. As the buyside works to define their requirements, the supply chain stands at the ready to respond and we look forward to further reporting on testing in the marketplace in the new year.

IAB Canada would like to thank all of the speakers that participated in our Report on Data. Each year, this event helps set the tone for the coming months. The industry has a lot to think about and fortunately, the tools and requirements are becoming available to take important action.