IAB Canada’s Made in Canada Sessions in Review

This week, IAB Canada kicked off the Business of Digital: Thought Leaders in Session series with a subject that is top of mind in Canada and abroad, investing in domestic media. The two-day event entitled “Made in Canada” covered both the sell-side and the buy-side perspectives of the topic.  

On day one, we shared the findings from our Barometer Report to provide an overview of the current sentiment from agency members on buying Canadian digital media. Among several insights shared, the study raised an interesting delta between the high level of importance (75%) that individuals feel towards investing domestically vs. the reality of how brands prioritize their buying decisions against performance, scale and other factors with only 26% viewing domestic buying as extremely or very important to them. The discussions that followed explored the ways in which domestic publishers could lessen the gap. 

We then heard rapid fire sessions that covered off some amazing innovations designed to level the playing field. Maple Network Exchange presented their self-serve Canadian exchange and showcased its accessible interface.  IAB Canada presented the news media allowlist launched with IAB Tech Lab in 2020 as well as the IAB Canada collaborative effort with #ourlocalmedia initiative. Mo Kahlain of M32 presented the #ourlocalmedia database capabilities and highlighted several filters and insights that could be gleaned from the 1000+ domain directory.  

An ad tech discussion featuring a great panel of thought leaders and innovators led by RJ Pauloski of Teads and included M32, Google and Trader, spoke to the incredible progress that has been made over the past year to make domestic media more accessible to the buying community. From delivering advanced first party data solutions to help monetize content in a future-proofed, cookieless way, to creating self-serve access and brand-safe inventory solutions, there was an upbeat tone that spoke to the enormous opportunities that lay ahead for Canadian media content publishers. 

We wrapped up with a publisher panel featuring high quality Canadian media inventory producers including The Globe and Mail, Postmedia, Star Metroland Media, Village Media and LaPresse highlighted the tremendous amount of investment that has gone towards delivering top notch inventory to buyers. While the barometer report had suggested that buying domestic should be considered a corporate social responsibility play, the publisher panel defended their product and challenged the buy-side to have meaningful discussions around value, scale and any other parameters they felt were underdelivered in the current offering. The takeaway here was that Canadian publishers are feeling confident in their product and bullish about the unique value they bring to the market. 

Day two began with a presentation by Vividata that delved deeply into digital news media consumption in Canada. The robust report showed a rich marketplace with nuanced audiences that could only be reached with intentional investment. 

Sarah Thompson, CSO of Mindshare delivered an insightful presentation around the diverse Canadian market and urged media investors to consider the hyper-local news outlets that provide invaluable access to information to all Canadians – not just those who live in major urban centers. Sarah offered several suggestions to the buying community to help support local media buying including the implementation of inclusion lists, reviewing brand safety policies and broadening the scope of objectives to move beyond clicks. Sarah also hinted towards broader efforts being made by the CMDC to drive agency members to pledge increased investment levels in local content. 

The final session was a buy-side panel moderated by Penny Hicks of the Globe and Mail with ACA, Cossette and Peloton Media in a discussion that touched on everything from how media is evaluated, to considerations around algorithms and technical frameworks to help integrate domestic media more overtly into the portfolios. The main takeaways were around proving value and integrating qualitative metrics into the current quantity skewed KPI frameworks that exist today. 

IAB Canada will continue to do its part by developing technical tools to help level the playing field and drive awareness of the emerging platforms and innovations that do the same. We look forward to re-visiting the matter with a follow-up Barometer to measure any changes that result from industry efforts made by IAB Canada and other industry associations like CMDC and News Media Canada. 

To join the IAB Canada Domestic Media working group, please reach out to councils@iabcanada.com