Mainstream Metrics and Multicultural Media – Digital@Dusk: Vancouver

Written by: Melody Lin

With Canada being one of the most multicultural countries in the world, message diversification is more important now than ever before.

IAB Canada’s Digital@Dusk event took place in Vancouver this week. Digital and multi-platform professionals from the buy, sell, marketer, research and technology sides of the ad industry came together to the sold-out event to share and learn best practices for strategic development in multicultural marketing.

Kuldip Gill, Director of Sales at Native Touch, kicked off the event as Master of Ceremonies and the evening commenced with Sonia Carreno, President of IAB Canada, first bringing the audience an urgent update on the developments around the cookieless future of online advertising. Sonia shared highlights from the Business of Digital event that took place earlier in the week in Toronto. The message around this was a call to participate in the discussions taking place right now. The online advertising industry is being re-imagined from a privacy-first perspective. This will require full vigilance of the Canadian media community to ensure Canada’s voice is heard and that the industry is prepared ahead of the transition that will likely take place in early 2022. To this end IAB Canada will be launching an IAB Tech Lab of the north which will provide access to Canadian members who want to lean in and participate in the development of the cookieless eco-system.

Sonia then covered off an executive summary look at the latest Canadian Media Usage Trends (CMUST) study which this year, focused on Canada’s rich ethnic diversity:



  1. Immerse in Diverse

As one of the world’s most “hyper-diverse” countries, it’s essential for marketers to provide immersion into the diverse nature of the country’s audience. IAB Canada has created a multicultural committee to unpack the subject further and create whitepapers for member access.

  1. New Audio Marketing Frontiers are Unfolding

With podcasts and music streaming seeing growing consumer interest and increases in reach and time spent, there is massive opportunity in Online Audio platforms and legacy radio. Learn more by viewing the IAB Canada Audio Guide and Publisher Media Kit.

  1. Three Measurement Battles are Being Waged

In the Census versus Panel battle, lines are drawn between legacy and data-based Interned media measurement. The Content versus Commercial battle resulted from legacy media’s tendency to measure content as opposed to digital commercial and ad impressions. With Industry versus Proprietary, the buyer side of marketing is hoping for Census, Commercial and Industry to emerge victorious.

  1. Internet Revenue is Quickly Over-developing

True, but there are caveats: analyze where in the funnel you’re spending – almost 50% of Internet ad revenue is made up of bottom-funnel search marketing – and stop with short-termism and under-branding. Only 40% of Canadian marketers’ budgets go toward supporting brand-building. Needless to say, that’s too low, especially when the recommended percentage is 60%.

  1. Re-evaluation of TV is in Play

The downward pressure of media costs is a looming issue for television, but that also signifies opportunities to buy more premium. With a new “breed” of TV advertisers prepared to accept higher CPRPs (cost per rating point), revenue in 2019 is predicted to have grown from 2018 levels for the first time in several years.



Moderated by Marc Brasset, Vice President of Digital Ops & Strategy at Western Media Group, the main event of the night was a panel discussion on multicultural marketing between three industry experts: Kevin Liminsang, VP Client Services & Partnership at Eastward Media, Catherine Green, Marketing Manager with the BC Dairy Association, and Jacqueline Mercer, Manager of Enterprise Digital Marketing at BCLC. Here are the conversation’s highlights:

  • FACT: Idiomatic phrases in English often don’t translate well – rather, “trans-create” net new campaigns to make sure everything speaks and resonates with your target audience
  • TIP: You don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel – for starters, it can be as simple as mirroring existing content calendars, but adding in specific nuances such as culturally-unique holidays, imagery and language
  • How do you market to cultural audiences with generational differences? Build out the campaign by degree of acculturation by looking at the values, assumptions and beliefs of your target audience
  • Overcoming firewalls on digital channels can be a real head-scratcher – try partnering with agencies operating manage-direct solutions who advocate on behalf of western organizations and work closely with local officials to unify reporting metrics and ensure regulation compliance
  • Find and reach audiences through influencers – and not just any influencers, collaborate with those unique to the audience you’re targeting to and has connections to cultural networks on social media
  • Do your research! Or in the words of Kevin Liminsang, “Research, survey and test…and test and test again”


We’ll leave you with a quote from the night’s MC, Kuldip Gill:

“With multicultural marketing still in its infancy stage, there are currently no leading experts in the field. Therefore, we can all be experts if we start applying the right skills now.”

Many thanks to our moderators, panelists, sponsors, attendees and volunteers – the event would not have been such a success without all of your support. We look forward to witnessing the development in multicultural media and furthering the discussion at future events.