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Canada Digital Ad Spending Update Q2 2020

Total Ad Spending Will Take a Hit, While Digital Remains Flat

About This Report
Our revised estimates for total ad spending in Canada this year show a big decline, mirroring what’s expected overall for the Canadian economy. Digital will hold its level after years of double-digit growth.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Since 2018, digital’s share of media spending in Canada has surpassed traditional ad formats. The coronavirus pandemic is strengthening the trend toward digital and will lead to an even higher digital share of total ad spending this year.

How has COVID-19 affected Canada’s ad market?

Total ad spending will shrink 7.8% this year, a complete reversal of our pre-pandemic forecast, which anticipated a 5.1% gain. We also originally predicted digital would account for 56.3% of total ad spending but now expect it to have 58.6% share. Traditional media formats are being hit hardest, leading to digital’s accelerated ascent.

What advertising formats are holding strong?

Mobile and video. Spending on mobile ad formats will grow 8.0% this year—much of the growth displaces spending in desktop digital—accounting for 44.9% of total media ad spending. Video display’s growth is also strong, increasing 3.6% in 2020 as social media ad units drive growth in the format.

How are traditional formats faring in the wake of COVID-19?

TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising are dropping significantly this year, following several years of minor declines. However, TV still commands a significant ad market and remains the strongest traditional ad vehicle.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report features our latest forecast for Canada ad spending, factoring in effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and examines what’s driving the ad market this year and beyond, including the growth of outstream social video.

KEY STAT: Digital ad spending will amount to CA$8.45 billion ($6.37 billion) this year, almost completely flat compared with 2019.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Foreword: The Economic Impact of COVID-19
  3. Our Revised Ad Spending Forecast for 2020
  1. Accelerated Declines for Traditional Advertising
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery


Paul Briggs


Angela Kim
Senior Researcher
Zach Goldner
Junior Forecasting Analyst
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