Search Wars in Canada: eMarketer

Google and foes stake out the Great White North.

Total Canadian revenues from online advertising reached C$1.01 billion (US$894 million) in 2006, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada – a leap of 80% in a single year.

As this market matures, search-related advertising is claiming a greater share of the advertising pie. In 2006, it accounted for almost as much revenue as online display campaigns, and investment in search has risen more quickly.

Canada�s most recent Search Engine Strategies conference, held in Toronto in June 2007, was the biggest ever: another sign that search-related marketing is taking off north of the border. Representatives from Yahoo!, MSN, Google and Ask all took part, and revealed some intriguing statistics.

Google claims to have handled 80% of all Canadian search engine queries in the second quarter of 2007. This suggests that the online giant enjoys a much larger share of the market than in the US, where it accounted for 53.6% of queries in August 2007, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

But its rivals are far from complacent. Both Yahoo! and MSN are working hard to prevent Google consolidating its hold on this vibrant market, where almost two-thirds of the population is online, and there�s a lot of room for Internet advertising to grow.

Microsoft in particular has invested heavily in search, and has won Canadian friends with its adCenter option, considered a bargain buy by many of the advertisers who are using paid search.

Paid search is one of the online ad types driving the medium’s growth, according to the Canadian Marketing Association. The organization predicts that Internet ad spending will pass all other ad types except for television and telemarketing by 2011.

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