TORONTO – The Canadian media market is evolving with the greater availability of data about actual media spending that are more accurate than statistical models. That information is needed as consumer habits remain in flux during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Canada, I would say, has been a little slower to evolve tracking to become more cross-platform and omnichannel,” Darrick Li, managing director for Canada at Standard Media Index (SMI), said in this interview with Beet.TV. “If we start to see that evolution into cross-platform measurement and being able to understand how all the mediums work together … we’ll start to see the industry move forward when we get to that point.”

Marketers and media companies are cultivating sources of first-party data to gain greater insights into consumer habits.

“Market intelligence is most valuable when you’re looking at actuals, when you’re looking at first-party data,” Li said, pointing to set-top box data that media owners use to track viewing habits, or retailers that monitor spending with loyalty programs.

“Not relying on samples is starting to get a lot more traction, at least in the Canadian market,” he said. “I’m not saying there is no role for third-party data. When you talk about data that is actionable, it’s really the first-party and actual data that is actionable for advertisers.”

Actual ad-spend data collected by SMI help advertisers to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns among different media channels. Those outlets also can see where they stand among different platforms, including the higher-growth segments like programmatic, digital and over-the-top (OTT).

“It’s the ones that can show you what’s happening outside of your own walls … to see where the opportunities lie,” Li said. “Our clients to see exactly where the dollars are going, and how it is changing from month to month.”

Media consumption habits last year shifted to digital as people spent more time at home, and looked for fresh content among the growing number of streaming platforms.

“That digital pendulum was unique to Canada, and presents a challenge to the major TV networks,” Li said. “Google and Facebook, to name two digital pure-plays, have been capturing a lot of those dollars in the Canadian market, which has forced the Canadian media owners to fight over the crumbs a little bit.”

There are signs that media owners are preparing for the possibility that consumers will resume some of their pre-pandemic habits as the health crisis subsides. Rogers Sports & Media, the unit of Rogers Communications Inc. that runs its mass media and sports properties, last month acquired Rouge Media Group to expand into out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

“They recognize that out-of-home is an opportunity to diversify and give their advertisers a little different way to execute a campaign that reaches difference audiences,” Li said. “You’ll start to see some of those ad dollars go back to offline traditional media like it was previously in Canada.”

You are watching “Seeing Around Corners: Media Decisions During a Period of Disruption,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by Standard Media Index. For more videos, please visit this page.