Canada’s ad spend to see modest gains: study

Dentsu predicts increasing growth in 2018 and 2019 after a flat year of media spend.
CarpathianPrince /

Dentsu is the latest agency to predict that digital is one of the only forms of media in Canada poised to make gains in the coming years.

The global agency released its biannual forecasts this morning, which pointed to overall growth in ad spend. Globally, it predicts ad spend will rise by 3.9% in 2018 (up from 3.3% in 2017). Canada, it predicted, will see slightly more modest growth of 2.3% this year, which is also a step up after a flat year.

While major events this year such as the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games and the upcoming FIFA World Cup will stimulate ad growth in many countries, Dentsu said that in Canada the trends translate more into reallocation of ad spend rather than an overall increase (with the exception of elections).

For next year, Canada’s ad spend is predicted to grow even more, by 5.1%. This growth will outpace that predicted in the U.S., U.K. and other major players, with only several (Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, China, India and Latin America) outpacing Canada’s growth. India has the highest predicted growth in 2019, with forecasts set at 11%.

Unsurprisingly, most of Canada’s growth is driven by mobile. While most other media investment showed modest decline in 2017 and beyond (newspapers and magazines showing the biggest drops of 12% and 13%, respectively), digital grew by 9.1% in 2017, and is predicted to continue on that upward trajectory with growth of 11.6% in 2018 and 13.1% in 2019. Overall, digital is predicted to represent 52% of Canada’s media spend next year. Of that digital spend, 63.4% is predicted to be dedicated to mobile, an increase of 7% from last year.

But there was one other area of media showing growth – albeit more subtle growth. Out of home media saw an increase of 6% in investment last year, and according to Dentsu, that 6% figure will remain consistent for the next two years.