ICYMI: Canada among the most-impacted by ad spend cuts

Plus, Torstar partners with SickKids and Apex is bringing audio ads to mobile games.
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Canadian market had some of the biggest ad spend declines among English-speaking countries

According to new research from SMI, Canada had a 19% drop in ad spend in 2020, the most among English-speaking markets globally. Across all Anglo markets, ad spend was down 8%, with a 15% dip in Australia, 12% in New Zealand, 11% in the U.K. and 7% in the U.S.

Digital was one area of positive spending, with 6% growth year-over-year in Canada. Spending on digital platforms overtook traditional ad spending in Q2, and accounted for 57% of the national media mix by Q4.

Torstar uses its platform to help fundraise for SickKids

The Toronto Star has established a three-year partnership with the SickKids Foundation to boost its effort to raise funds for a new SickKids hospital. The Star will conduct virtual live panels for readers with health experts from SickKids and publish sponsored content with a regular health advice feature. Readers who contribute to the campaign before March 31 will have their contribution matched by an anonymous donor, until $750,000 has been reached.

Publisher Jordan Bitove, who bought Torstar along with business partner Paul Rivett last year, has been a SickKids board member since 2012. But he said the partnership fits with the Star‘s revered Atkinson Principles, named for early publisher Joseph E. Atkinson, which prioritizes social justice, community engagement and helping others.

Apex brings audio ads to gaming apps

In-app adtech provider Apex Mobile Media has partnered with U.K.-based AudioMob to bring in-game audio advertising to Canadian clients. The technology uses standard banner ads, but with audio only, so as to not distract the user from what they are doing.

Walder Amaya, CEO and co-founder of Apex, says the partnership is part of the company’s strategy to reduce the negative impact of ad insertions to game players. With “banner blindness” going up along with the number of users playing mobile games in 2020, he says in-game audio advertising is a format that creates a link between brand and consumer that can fit unobstruively with the in-game experience.