The Enormous Influence of Transaction-Based Digital Media

IAB Canada’s eCommerce Week Kick-Off

This week, IAB Canada celebrated eCommerce in a big way. Over the course of three days, we explored the global shift to eCommerce and how the recent pandemic has accelerated that shift, the impact this new breed of advertiser is having on digital marketing, and valuable on-the-ground insights to immediately incorporate into eCommerce driven media strategies.

According to eMarketer, the $52 billion eCommerce industry in Canada accounts for 8.7% of retail sales for 2020 in the country which, represents a 20% increase since 2019. While the main factors for this growth can be attributed to the surge in direct to consumer activity online, we also reviewed the underpinnings of the evolved landscape which include extremely low barriers to entry, access to flexible and agile supply chains, Canadians’ increased comfort levels around progressive category transactions and most poignantly, the Covid-19 pandemic which forced a rush on eCommerce readiness.

All arrows point towards sustained eCommerce market growth, with Vividata reporting 34% of Canadians shopping weekly and average monthly budgets reaching $316 during the crisis. Additionally, IAB Canada has consistently reported through our Covid-19 Barometer study that eCommerce enabled brands were significantly less affected by cuts or pauses to advertising budgets.

We then explored how media is currently supporting eCommerce driven campaigns. In our latest Barometer on defining performance marketing, 70% of agency respondents reported a moderate to significant increase in eCommerce driven campaigns. Moreover, we discovered that paid social and paid search, are by far, the tools of the trade used most frequently to drive transactions. Later in the week, we heard brands discuss the importance of brand-building and loyalty strategies which tend to rely more heavily on programmatic display and other channels. Curiously, we found that some planners, albeit a few, define performance media as not being directly tied to a sale, which warrants further investigation into how brand-building campaigns are being evaluated for success.

The presentations went on to focus on the significance of first party data stores and the tremendous influence they will have as the industry works to tool up for a cookie-less world. With DTC brands holding addressable audience levels of up to 90% (their non-digitally native counterparts average an estimated 60%), the new infrastructure will have to accommodate their needs and work with their tech stacks.

Full coverage of this week’s discussion will be shared in next week’s newsletter. These conversations provide our industry with important clues to what the future of digital advertising will look like. Members and attendees are encouraged to review the recorded sessions and content links.