Canada Digital Ad Spending 2021

Strong Growth to Return as a Recovery Looms

Executive Summary

A historic 2020 reshaped the advertising market in Canada, favoring digital formats that provide greater flexibility and performance-based ad units.

How did the pandemic affect Canada’s ad market in 2020?

Total media advertising expenditures dropped by 7.3% over 2019, mirroring overall economic performance in Canada. Advertisers focused their limited budgets on digital ad formats, which kept digital ad spending in positive territory with 4.0% annual growth.

What level of rebound is expected this year?

The economic recovery in 2021 will lead total ad spending to rebound by 11.3% year over year (YoY), recouping 2020’s losses and then some. Digital ad spend will fuel that rebound, rising by 13.4% YoY.

What advertising formats are holding strong?

Video and mobile advertising held strong in 2020 and will post respective gains of 15.2% and 15.3% this year. Ad units in social media are driving these gains as consumer usage is up and programmatic buying of inventory adds flexibility for budget-conscious media buyers.

How are traditional formats faring?

Not well. TV, radio, and print advertising dropped significantly in 2020, following several years of minor declines. TV’s declines were related to a reduced schedule of live sports and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. Out-of-home (OOH) was decimated last year, as government measures restricted foot traffic in public spaces.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report covers our latest forecast for digital ad spending in Canada and examines some of the advertising trends behind the numbers.

KEY STAT: Digital ad spending in Canada will surpass CA$10 billion ($7 billion) this year, accounting for 64.3% of total media ad spending.

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Paul Briggs


Nicole Perrin
Principal Analyst
Shelleen Shum
Senior Director, Forecasting

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