Where can one get their hands on digital competitive intelligence data in Canada? That all really depends on the type of data you’re looking for.
Some ad spend information is available while much more is available for who’s online where, when and in how many approximate ad impressions, as well as what led people to your site, or your competitors’.
Ad Spend data
In Canada, only IAB Canada publishes annual digital (online & mobile) ad spend figures through Ernst & Young. These figures are annual for the entire country; they are then split for French language ads, by ad type (display, search, directories, classifieds, video, mobile, email and gaming) and advertiser segments. This data is not available on a monthly or quarterly basis, only annually.
It has been released at the end of the summer over the last few years. When it does,the industry gains insight into the actual for the previous year and estimates for the year in progress. There are no projected numbers for the following year.
To obtain forecasts for the upcoming year, one must turn to eMarketer which does so by looking at IAB Canada’s numbers and a few other financial sources.
The latest IAB canada report identifies digital ad spend of $B in 2012 and an estimate of $B for 2013 which is % growth. French language ads account for 19% of those numbers. EMarketer forecasts 2014’s digital ad spend in Canada at $B or % growth.
We must note that another organization also tracks digital ad spend in Canada. Borrell Associates establish their own ad spend estimates for the current year as well as a projection for 5 years from now. BA’s focus is predominantly local media whereas other ad spend figures are usually compiled from the top few media operators who account for the bulk of total ad spend. Theirs is a different look at this crystal ball with its own merits as they are the only ones to separate local from national ad spend in Canada.
Monthly ad spend data
You may have heard the contrary of what I’ve just written. It is true that Kantar Media’s Evaliant solution does offer ad spend estimates, I would like to caution you against paying any attention to those numbers. For starters, it is only display, which is about 30% of all digital, and most importantly, they extrapolate ad spend totals using a base rate card for all. While the numbers may be dead on for a few brands, they are very far out of whack for most because of the vast differences in how brands pay for their media (varying rates of CPM, CPC, CPA and other models). Also they do not much differentiate house ads from paying ads, or can male the difference of which ads were sold direct, through networks or through RTB.
Nielsen does have a project to make this data available on a monthly and brand basis, but first they need to obtain the raw data from the principle publishers, the bigger of which are not inclined to share it…
Another type of data available in the Canadian market ad volume data. Two companies offer Canadian marketers digital competitive intelligence activity data on an ongoing basis : comScore (AdMetrix) and Kantar Media (Evaliant). As I mentioned above, Nielsen has a project to also offer this type of information but this is not yet available.
Both available solutions offer very good reporting of ad impression levels (approximations) per campaign and creative which rolls up to the brand and corporate levels. Reporting of ad impression levels is available by website on a monthly basis. These are great solutions for demonstrating scales of band visibility and share of voice, as well as other more “business intelligence” type of knowledge like what one brand’s media plan looks like, what their creative looks like, their messaging and their offer, as well as when they were active in the last calendar year.
If you are interested in volume of search queries for any given keyword, brand or industry, then try trends.Google.com and find the “explore more” link to compare two or more terms in the geography and time period you are interested in.
If comparing your site’s traffic and other key (simple) metrics with those of your competitors is what you are interested in then you can look to the following tools. Each of the three following tools is different from the next – no one is really better overall, it all depends on what insight you are looking for.
comScore’s MediaMetrics offers monthly stats on every website visited by Canadians (reach (UV), traffic (PV), visits / sessions, time spent and a summary demo profile of each site’s users.
Google’s AdPlanner offers something similar to comScore although not with an audited methodology, where metrics are concerned. It is limited to only those sites that are part of the Google Ad network, which is still quite a large basin of sites. It goes further by allowing one to drill down to individual markets / cities and more in-depth demographic profile data.
Please let me know if there are any other tools out there I’ve missed.
Authored by Samuel Parent