Canada Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending

Automated Transactions Reign Supreme

Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending

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Ad Spending and Industry Trends Through 2021 for Canada, China, France, Germany, the UK and the US

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About This Report
Programmatic transactions for digital display account for 86.4% of the market in Canada this year, even though global privacy reform and device tracking protections are making it more challenging to execute.

Executive Summary

The vast majority of digital display ad dollars in Canada are being spent using programmatic channels. It’s the culmination of almost a decade of maturation for this automated method of ad buying.

How big is programmatic display advertising in Canada?

In 2019, programmatic ad spending will make up 86.4% of digital display spending, or CA$3.91 billion ($3.02 billion) in Canada. That’s equal to almost half (44.5%) of all digital and almost a quarter (23.8%) of total media advertising.

What is the share of programmatic display by transaction method?

Programmatic direct, the primary method for placing ads in social media, accounts for almost two-thirds (62.6%) of the total, with the remainder going to real-time bidding (RTB). Within RTB, private marketplace (PMP) spending outpaces open exchange ad investment in Canada, unlike the US where PMP holds a smaller share of RTB.

How programmatic is mobile display?

Mobile programmatic display spending will reach CA$2.60 billion ($2.01 billion) this year, up 28.9% over 2018. But new Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) features in mobile browsers are making attribution more difficult across the mobile web, which has implications for that area of programmatic activity.

Is video still a top growth area for programmatic?

Video programmatic spending continues apace, reaching CA$983.9 million ($758.9 million) in 2019. However, the supply shortfall continues in Canada, as local publishers have been slow to produce video inventory and fully monetize a healthy video audience.

When will the global privacy reform movement affect Canada?

It already does, since many programmatic transactions cross borders and regions. Closer to home, privacy reform is expected in 2020 in Canada, following consumer protection measures like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report covers our 2019 forecast for programmatic advertising in Canada. It explains how the automated method of transacting display is developing across screens and formats.

KEY STAT: Programmatic now accounts for 86.4% of all digital display ad spending, following a five-year period of rapid growth.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Programmatic Ad Spending Outlook
  3. Mobile Programmatic Ad Spending
  1. Programmatic Video Ad Spending
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Sonia Carreno
IAB Canada
Interviewed October 1, 2019
Justin Cumby
Managing Director
Interviewed August 22, 2019
Michael Geist
University of Ottawa
Canada Research Chair, Internet and Ecommerce Law
Interviewed October 25, 2019
Nathan Mekuz
Co-Founder and Vice President, Ad Operations
Interviewed August 28, 2019
Caroline Moul
PHD Canada
Interviewed January 25, 2019
Tessa Ohlendorf
MightyHive Canada
Managing Director
Interviewed August 16, 2019


Paul Briggs


Nazmul Islam
Junior Forecasting Analyst
Angela Kim
Senior Researcher

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast