Auto sector led Canadian programmatic at year’s end: report

Automotive continues to dominate the Canadian programmatic space, while retail advertisers lag behind their American counterparts, according to Casale Media‘s new report on RTB spending in Canada in Q4 2013. The report shows auto advertisers outspent retailers on RTB advertising in last year’s holiday season. “It was a little startling to see how strong automotive […]

Automotive continues to dominate the Canadian programmatic space, while retail advertisers lag behind their American counterparts, according to Casale Media‘s new report on RTB spending in Canada in Q4 2013.

The report shows auto advertisers outspent retailers on RTB advertising in last year’s holiday season.

“It was a little startling to see how strong automotive was in Canada, based on our historical data on the U.S. market, where we’ve seen retail as the frontrunner since we first started tracking data,” says Julia Casale-Amorim, CMO at Casale Media (and daughter of founder and CEO Joseph Casale). Casale provides a platform for operating RTB exchanges in Canada and the U.S., and tracks data from all impressions sold on exchanges on its platform.

• Read Julia Casale-Amorim’s column “How Canada’s programmatic market will evolve to match the U.S.”

According to the company’s data, in Q4 the auto sector increased RTB spend more than any other sector, bumping its share of overall spend from 22% in Q3 to 27.4% in Q4. By the end of the quarter, six of the top 10 spenders were auto manufacturers, with GM and Toyota claiming the top two spots.

Chart from Casale Media's Index Quarterly Report

Despite the holiday shopping season, the retail sector as a whole was outspent by the auto sector during Q4. Canadian retail advertisers have been significantly slower to pick up RTB than retailers in the U.S. that, according to the report, spent more than twice as much as auto advertisers through most of 2013. The report suggests Canadian retail’s slow RTB adoption may be tied to the market’s lack of strong e-commerce options.

Chart from Casale Media's Index Quarterly Report

Small number of brands make up majority of spend

In Q4, 100 brands accounted for 77% of all RTB spending in Canada. “One of the biggest takeaways [of the report] is just how few brands are controlling the programmatic market right now in Canada,” says Casale-Amorim. “That’s a testament to the fact that programmatic is still emerging in Canada, and we certainly lag behind the U.S. market. We’re poised for future growth.”

But there are signs that the number of adopters is growing. In Q3, the top 10 brands accounted for 37% of all spending; in Q4, it fell to 33%, meaning more money is coming from brands that are just getting into RTB. “I don’t think that’s seasonal. I think it’s a reflection of the market as it matures,” says Casale. “We’re going to see a widening there – more brands on-boarding budgets into programmatic and existing brands expanding their spend, as they move from testing to a commitment to the channel.”

She said that preliminary data for Q1 2014 shows the long-term trend towards more brands in programmatic continuing, with the top 10′s share falling to a quarter of total spend.

Casale’s data is collected from exchanges powered by the Casale Index Platform. Findings in the quarterly report are based on a statistically significant sample of all RTB media sold in Canada.

The full report will be released by Casale at this week’s Programmatic IQ event, co-hosted by Casale and Olive Media.

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