Canadian Web surfers are world’s top video consumers

Canada’s love affair with online video and smartphones is fuelling big growth in mobile marketing that rivals the U.S. scene, the latest research shows.

Canadians consume more video on the Web than any othernationality onthe planet, according to the latest figures from comScoreInc. Theaverage Canadian spends 16.8 hours per month viewing 221 videos on theNet, topping the U.S. average of 13 hours a month spent viewing 200videos.

And 40 per cent of Canadians now own a smartphone, ranking us fourth inthe world after Spain, the U.K. and Italy and ahead of fifth-placeU.S., where penetration is 38 per cent, according to comScore.

Both trends are feeding off of one another to drive a surge in mobilemarketing in Canada, including short form video ads and teasersdesigned specifically for smartphones, says Jason Cowell, creativedirector at Toronto marketing agency BStreet.

“The smartphones are contributing to the increase in video consumption.(People) are streaming video with them wherever they go,” Cowell says.“So practically every marketing campaign we do right now willhave some form of mobile component.”

This wave has helped put Canada’s mobile marketing scene “about threeto five years ahead of the U.S.,” Cowell estimates.

Video, in particular, is being used more often by Canadian marketersthan American businesses because “people are more receptive andtrustworthy of mobile Web in Canada. There’s a lot of trust issues inthe U.S.” over fears about mobile data privacy and control, Cowellsays.

Though longer form viral videos like the infamous Old Spice campaignhave been around for years, shorter clips are the trend for mobile adstoday because they make less of a dent on a company’s wallet – but moreof an impact on a consumer’s emotions than, say, traditionalcall-to-action Web or SMS text ads.

“It’s not only much cheaper than doing these large scale videomarketing productions like Old Spice. It also plants that little seedin (people’s) minds. They have that personal connection through theirsmartphones and video can do that best, that’s how you pull at their heart strings,” Cowell says.
Though longer form viral videos like the infamous Old Spice campaign have been around for years, shorter clips are the trend for mobile ads today because they make less of a dent on a company’s wallet – but more of an impact on a consumer’s emotions than, say, traditional call-to-action Web or SMS text ads.
“It’s not only much cheaper than doing these large scale videomarketing productions like Old Spice. It also plants that little seedin (people’s) minds. They have that personal connection through theirsmartphones and video can do that best, that’s how you pull at theirheart strings,” Cowell says.

Mobile video is the best way to pique a consumer’s interest so they’llfurther investigate a product later at home or work, he adds.

“In terms of marketing, Twitter is successful because it providescontent people can just scan through (on mobile devices). Marketers cantake the same approach with seemingly short bursts of video to make theconsumer further explore a brand online (later).”

One of the hottest trends in Canadian Web and mobile marketing ispersonalized interactive content inviting consumers to submit their ownvideos, photos, tips or slogans to become part of an ad campaignthemselves. In Intel Corp.’s Museumof Me campaign, for example, people canuse their Facebook data to create a virtual museum of their lives.

“We’re doing more than just pushing out the video. We’re letting peoplepush their video out as well,” Cowell says. “People love to personalizeanything online to express their own story and it’s just that muchcloser of a connection to a brand.”

The Canadian mobile data market overall – including the creation andmobile distribution of video and marketing content — is also poisedfor further growth due to “a perfect storm” of various factors, saysBryan Segal, vice-president at comScore Inc. Canada.

“(One is) handset availability. A couple of years ago smartphones werejust for wealthy working people. It’s now become standardized thatpeople have smartphones. Also, the phones are reduced in cost and dataplans have definitely aligned a bit more with people’s wallets.”

Canada also has the oldest handset ownership rate in the world, withover 20 per cent of Canucks holding onto their mobile phones (and thatincludes all cell phones, not just smartphones) for three or moreyears. That means there’s a backlog of cell contracts coming due in thenext year that will likely see older handsets swapped for smartphones,driving the next wave of Canadian development in mobile apps, video,ads and other content, Segal says.
Cowell believes near field communication (NFC)will be the next key trend to take hold in Canada’s mobile data sector,predicting it will “soon replace” QR codes in use and popularity.

Christine WongChristineWong is a Staff Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow her on Twitter,and join in the conversation on the IT BusinessFacebook Page.

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