Digital media seeing some upward momentum, but recovery remains slow

Digital media is seeing the strongest recovery month-over-month in Canada as lockdown measures across the country start to lift, according to the Standard Media Index, which analyzes data related to advertising pricing and spend. 

Digital media performed much stronger in the U.S. than in Canada with the former market declining 18.4 per cent, Canada falling by 38.3 per cent. 

Source: Standard Media Index

“Over the past three months, we have seen the enormous impact COVID-19 has had across most facets of our lives. For the media and advertising industry specifically, we saw media investment in April drop to less than half of last year’s,” said James Fennessy, chief executive officer at Standard Media Index. “Although, in May, we began to see some slight recovery in the market, not surprisingly, Television and Out of Home continue to struggle, with the suspension of sports programming and live events. Digital is the one area that has shown early signs of picking up, which we expect to accelerate in the coming months. E-commerce has helped to fuel this pick up in Digital, as more shoppers shifted to online purchases. We will be keeping a close eye on trending across media type and category in the coming weeks and months as we look to help all players in the Canadian media ecosystem understand where the best opportunities for growth lie.”

Compared to other types of media such as television and print, the recovery seems to be fastest in the digital space, but the recovery remains slow, according to the accumulated Covid-19 impact on media spend report from The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB Canada). The results of the latest survey revealed almost eight in 10 of respondents advise that client digital spends are negatively affected, with cash flow and consumer trends leading the list of factors impacting digital spending in Canada. However, results also indicate that digital spending levels are still reviewed frequently, primarily weekly as daily reviews are less common now.

May saw a reduction of negative eight percentage points in digital media performance, going from -49.2 per cent in April to -41.2 per cent. Other traditional media, which include out of home, print and radio, continues a downward trend month-over-month sitting at -74.1 per cent. Television saw a slight decline since April to -51.2 per cent. 

Source: Standard Media Index

The Canadian agency media marketplace grew around three per cent in the initial two months of the year. However, COVID-19 resulted in a 40 per cent decline in media investment between March and May, causing an overall drop of 26.6 per cent year-to-date. Media investment in April dropped to less than half of last year’s. As lockdown measures began to lift, May saw a slight increase in investment from April, which experienced the biggest decline in the market performance of 52.5 per cent. 

Source: Standard Media Index

Standard Media Index is a global source of advertising pricing and spend data, new to the Canadian market, which is the fifth market to launch for the company, which currently operates in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. 


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Pragya Sehgal
Pragya Sehgal
Born and raised in the capital city of India - Delhi - bounded by the river Yamuna on the west, Pragya has climbed the Himalayas, and survived medical professional stream in high school without becoming a patient or a doctor. Pragya now makes her home in Canada with her husband - a digital/online marketing fanatic who also loves to prepare beautiful, healthy and delicious meals for her. When she isn’t working or writing around tech, she’s probably watching art films on Netflix, or wondering whether she should cut her hair short or not. Can be contacted at [email protected] or 647.695.3494.

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