Canada hits fast forward on digital audio

Canada's time spent with digital audio surpassed that of radio for the first time in 2021.

The gap will widen going forward. At 1 hour, 33 minutes a day on average in 2022, time spent with digital audio will be 8 minutes more than time spent with radio. The switch is related to a reduction in commuting, which has had a direct impact on terrestrial radio consumption.

Digital audio listeners will surpass 25 million in 2022. This includes users who stream music, digital audio, and podcasts. The number of podcast listeners has grown by double digits in the past few years as podcast networks have expanded, offering near-unlimited choices for even the most niche topics. An additional 900,000 listeners will join the ranks in 2022, and podcast listeners will represent over one-third of internet users for the first time.

The ad market is maturing to meet this new audience. Digital audio ad spending hit C$96 million ($71.6 million) in 2020, according to Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada’s (IAB Canada) latest reporting on the market. That’s a mere 1.0% of total digital ad spending in the country, according to IAB Canada—a mismatch when considering the amount of time consumers spend with audio formats.

Spotify’s recent expansion efforts will help advertisers reach its growing audience of 10.7 million Canadian listeners in 2022. The company announced additional hiring in Canada to bolster its ad sales team in September 2021. In June, it expanded its Audience Network—a marketplace for ad inventory both on and off Spotify—to Canada (as well as Australia and the UK).


Digital audio advertising will leap forward in 2022. The efforts of Spotify, streaming radio companies, and podcast networks will continue to expand advertising inventory and improve capabilities for reliable return on ad spending (ROAS) measurement.