Internet top media time grabber among Canadian youth, says new IAB study

Advertisers whose target market is currently in the 25-34 range best make haste, says the new report from the IAB, released along with the launch of its Media Imperatives tool for media buyers and planners at Ad Week.

The Internet is where Canada’s youth, aged 18 to 24, spends the most amount of time, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of Canada’s annual Canadian Media Usage Trends study (CMUST). Released to marketers last week as part of Advertising Week presentations in Montreal and Toronto, the study compares year-over-year changes in media usage by both English and French Canadian consumers – male and female, of various demos – to help advertisers understand how media habits have changed in recent years. It also found that the Internet now reaches more Canadian adults each week than magazines or newspapers and, while neck-and-neck in weekly reach with TV among 18- to 24-year-olds, also has a higher reach among 15- to 34-year-olds than radio.

First commissioned in 2001 and now containing a full seven years of data, the CMUST study compiles data from the country’s major syndicated research studies – including PMB, NADbank, BBM RTS and comScore Media Metrix. It reports that the Internet has experienced ‘a remarkable growth’ in terms of share of time spent with media: from 14% in 2001 to 23% in 2007 in English Canada, and from 11% to 18% in French Canada.

Prepared for IAB Canada by senior VP planning services at PHD Canada Rob Young, the new CMUST study shows that the Internet now stands third – just behind TV and radio – in terms of total weekly time spent by all adults with all media, that it’s the top the medium in terms of weekly time spent among 25- to 34-year-olds in English Canada, and is fast approaching radio and TV in time-spent levels among the same demo group in French Canada as well.

The study also found that the Internet provides marketers with a ‘mirror image’ of the age profile of other major media, particularly when comparing the Internet to TV, and can therefore help balance media weight across all age groups when shifting a portion of the advertising budget from TV to Internet.

Given the recent finding, the report points out that advertisers whose target market is currently in the 25-34 range only have a short time to learn how to use online media channels like social media and video to drive results for their brands because, while 18- to 24-year-olds may not be the target market for a whole host of advertisers today, Canadians carry their media habits with them as they age. High levels of Internet usage exhibited by 18- to 24-year-olds today will become high levels of usage for the entire 25- to 34-year-old age group eight years from now.

Complementing the study, IAB Canada launched its new Media Imperatives Tool, giving media planners and buyers who are PMB subscribers a full and graphic depiction of how various levels of Internet and TV media usage relate back to actual consumer product usage and purchasing power. The first of the tool’s findings reveals that consumers who are heavy Internet users but light TV viewers – ‘Internet Imperatives’ – index highest as consumers who: spend $1,500+ monthly on credit cards; own $5,000+ in personal computing systems; make $10,000+ RRSP contributions annually; own or have recently purchased a new, $50,000+ car; spent $50,000+ in home improvements in the past year; carry $500,000+ in life insurance; have a home valued at $500,000+; personally hold $500,000+ in securities and savings.

An executive summary of the IAB CMUST results is available here.