Thoughts about media in Canada

A request to the Association of Canadian Advertisers

Respectfully and regretfully we have a little problem on the media side that is tying us in knots. It’s about the spending. Every client wants and needs to know how much is being spent in their category on media. They need to see where they stand in respect to their competitors plus they need to have a grasp on which channels are part of the mix. For years Nielsen has provided this (at a cost to the marketers) for the major media channels. In the past digital media could be safely ignored but no longer. Digital is poised to take #2 spot for media spend and is currently a $1.8 billion* blind spot where no one brand has as good a grasp what their competitor is spending as they do in other media. Never mind trying to get to the level on knowing what their competitor spends in search, display, video or mobile. Given that digital is the most accountable of all media it’s kinda pathetic.

Digital offers choices that make tracking the spend difficult. First off, paid search is not tracked at all and it is largest segment of the digital media spend. Google knows what the breakdown of each brand is versus the category but they are telling. The strategy of surveying the publishers is not going to work. There is a myriad of options for buying Canadian impressions on US websites and if that is not complex enough start throwing in ad exchanges. Forget natural search.

There is a solution but it’s a tough one. If the marketers need and want this information then they could cooperate through the ACA to gather the spending information from the agencies. We have the data sitting within our billing systems but it needs to be delivered in a standard format and aggregated into a readable report. The money saved by marketers on Nielsen could be put to establishing this service within the ACA along with some shipping/handling fees to the agencies who provide the raw data. We need to solve this problem; every year the blindspot gets bigger and bigger and it would be a valuable service to your members.

*The IAB produces an aggregate trusted number because it does a great job of with the revenue survey. What it cannot do is provide a brand by brand breakdown.

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