eMarketer: Mobile Set to Reshape Canada�s Marketing Landscape

Mobile internet usage gains have brands eyeing on-the-go strategies

JUNE 6, 2012 – Mobile phone penetration in Canada is neither as wide nor as fast-growing as in the US, but the country that birthed the BlackBerry is rising rapidly when it comes to uptake of smartphones and tablets�and inspiring more mobile internet usage as a result. Marketers on both sides of the 49th parallel are taking note.

The number of mobile internet users in Canada jumped more than 28% in 2011, with 25% of the population using the mobile internet by year�s end. eMarketer estimates that penetration will continue to rise, albeit at a somewhat slower pace, through 2016, when nearly half of the population will be mobile internet users.

Mobile Internet Users and Penetration in Canada, 2010-2016

“As adoption continues to increase, marketers are moving from getting their feet wet to executing more sophisticated campaigns,” said Paul Briggs, author of the new eMarketer report “Canada Mobile: Marketers Take Aim at a Moving Target.” “Canada�s brands and agencies have started to invest in the mobile channel, with mobile increasingly occupying a dedicated line with campaign budgets.”

In 2011, mobile ad spending in Canada reached a relatively paltry US$80 million, according to eMarketer estimates, but that figure is expected to balloon past $777 million in the next four years, as “mobile-first” strategies begin to dominate marketers� efforts.

Mobile Ad Spending in Canada, 2010-2016 (millions of US$)

One of the primary challenges for marketers will be Canada�s increasingly equitable spread of mobile operating systems, as a result of Research In Motion hemorrhaging BlackBerry OS market share in the face of expanding ownership of Android- and Apple iOS-based devices.

“Reaching all smartphone users [in Canada] can require separate development projects for reaching Android, BlackBerry and iOS devices,” Briggs noted. Especially in regards to issuing apps to engage consumers and serve as a venue for display ads, “reaching across all major platforms can be costly and hard to manage.”

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