A Buyer’s Market – IAB Canada’s Continued Assessment of the COVID-19 Impact on Media Spend

While discussions accelerate around re-opening the economy and we speculate on how the next months will look, IAB Canada is continuing to track the impact COVID-19 is having on Canadian digital ad investments thus far and respondents’ expectations for the future. Wave 5 is our fifth quick snapshot, based on the newest, barometer survey of IAB Canada agency and marketer members.

Once again, the sample predominantly consists of agencies, which are reporting an accumulation of negative spending impacts as the COVID-19 crisis wears on, as well as a prognosis of a longer road to full recovery. Following are some additional highlights noted during this week’s Community Uninterrupted presentation:

  • Over 8 in 10 of respondents again advise that client digital spends are negatively affected.
  • Cash flow and consumer trends continue to lead the list of factors impacting digital spends in Canada.
  • Reports of reduced spend are now more common than ‘Delays/Shifted Later’, which used to outnumber the former two waves ago
  • Programmatic Display continues the most negatively impacted ad format followed by Paid Social, Audio and Paid Search the least.
  • Media/Entertainment, Travel, Auto and Retail continue among top ad categories seeing spend reductions, while some growth is cited for the newly measured Fitness/Wellness (incl. sports equipment) vertical
  • eCommerce enabled brands are less affected by Covid-19.
  • CPMs and CPCs continue down in this lower spending environment for one-in-four respondents, translating into lower campaign costs.
  • Weekly or even daily digital budget reviews are still being conducted by almost 6-in-10 of respondents, 1-in-5 on a daily basis
  • A very large majority of respondents cite the use of modified creative that is more sensitive to the consumer as a result of Covid-19
  • One-in-four claim to be blocking ‘hard news’ specifically due to COVID, some of whom are now loosening their restrictions

While the reporting indicates some areas of positivity, six in ten still anticipate more spend reductions and expectations for a full recovery are now pushed out to the 2nd-half of 2021 or later.

IAB Canada will continue to provide reporting as Canada moves into recovery from lockdown.