IAB Canada Releases the 2022 Digital for Reach Barometer Report

This week, IAB Canada released the second annual Digital for Reach Barometer Report. A buy-side study that probes priorities, topline estimated increases and declines in expenditure and captures a current view of the general sentiment around buying digital media in Canada 2022. 

The report was shared at the IAB Canada Digital for Reach event on Thursday, February 24, 2022 and set the tone for deeper discussions on the general topic of addressability and reach in a shifting landscape. Top line findings from the report included: 

  • Privacy, Measurements and Addressability – take centre stage as top priorities in 2022 with rapid regulatory activity, a clear lack of consistency in measurement & accountability and the uncertainties of cookie independence are top of mind. 
  • Static planning in a flexible media environment – almost a quarter of budgets are locked in from the get-go with little flexibility for incremental spends for positive returns indicating a lack of incrementality investment strategies. Advanced measurement practices are being deployed in less than 20% of media buying activity. 
  • Vast majority of investment is done with a “loose” rubric on quality standards – while the buyside is quite concerned with the safety of the supply chain, the ability to maintain one singular standard remains elusive. 
  • Contextual advertising is having its second life – while buyers are willing to invest in testing new models emerging from the cookieless sandboxes. Indications that there is strong confidence in the developments being delivered through topics and seller defined audiences as alternatives to addressability post 2023. 
  • Video continues to push ahead with additional growth potential – as indicated in the 2021 CMUST study, as well as the trending in the IAB Canada Revenue survey, video continues to drive spend in Canada with some emerging channels like Audio and DOOH gaining clear momentum. 
  • Market is expressing cautious optimism for 2022 – when asked about the general outlook on buying media in 2022, the industry was graded just under 6 out of a possible 10. In other words, the industry got a C- grade on sentiment. This may be a result of the lack of clarity around standards in a rapidly shifting landscape. 

Listening to the diverse views from heavy hitters like P&G, Globe and Mail, Nielsen, Index Exchange, Quantcast and Samsung among others, the Business of Digital discussion provided some clear endorsements for IAB Canadas’ planned next steps. 

  1. Crack privacy-first models: 
    • GDPR-driven scrutiny from regulators being addressed – IAB Europe working with APD (Belgium) to develop acceptable code of practice 
    • Bill 64 has national implications – acceptable framework must apply 
    • Alternatives to RTB – squarely in the budget
  1. Develop “Pillar of Truth” for measurement:
    • Industry races towards measuring audiences with impressions from a technical standpoint falling to baseline 
    • Layering in context of consumer, safety and viability measures as well as engagement metrics 
    • The industry risks developing too many disparate models and methodologies in a pursuit to capitalize on the vacuum that currently exists in the marketplace – of particular concern is the development of a currency that may not be globally interoperable.
  1. Uphold a “Gold Standard” that incorporates the adoption of the latest quality measures to provide the industry with a clear rubric on what an acceptable supply chain should include. These standards should be consistent with existing global factors with some flexibility to allow limited market differences.
  1. Test to Invest – the end game is the development of frameworks that enable fluid expenditures for proven effectiveness.
  1.  Improve our outlook – a C-? Really?
    • This is one of the most exciting times to be in our industry – we are collectively in the driver’s seat. 

We’d like to thank today’s speakers and participants for bringing colour to the Barometer findings and for setting the industry on a clear path towards sustainable growth.  

Join the conversation at IAB Canada by participating in our working groups or committees. You can contact us at committees@iabcanada.com