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Exploring the Digital Marketing Industry in Canada

Canada has seen a major transformation in the advertising landscape due to digital advertising. 

It is one of the highest countries worldwide in terms of online penetration and Canadian online users spend more time on the internet than on traditional media and entertainment. 

This has led advertisers to follow suit and in 2022, online ad spending in Canada is estimated to reach 12.3 billion Canadian dollars, up 11 percent from the previous year. 

This figure is still not as high as that of the United States, but it still makes Canada one of the biggest digital ad markets in the world.

What are the most popular digital ad formats in Canada?

In 2021, search remains the top digital ad format in Canada, with nearly half of all digital ad budgets devoted to search campaigns. 

This is in line with global trends as well as consumer behavior, as Google continues to be the go-to source for internet users worldwide. 

In fact, Google alone captured about 50 percent of all digital ad revenues in the country in recent years. 

Social media is also benefiting from the digital ad boom, with an estimated 3.2 billion Canadian dollars spent in 2021 on social media advertising. 

As the number of users of social media continues to grow year-on-year, so too will the amount of money spent on advertising.

The results of a recent survey showed that LGBTQ+ community members perceived advertising content on social media to be the most inclusive. 

Despite this, Canadian consumers raised concerns about the accuracy of such advertisements.

Growing Demand

In Canada, the average consumer spends 5.4 hours of their 24-hour day on digital media, which provides businesses with a prime opportunity to reach customers via digital marketing campaigns.

This type of marketing, which used to be delegated to external agencies, has become a cornerstone for companies’ marketing teams, and the emergence of digitization has led to heightened demand for digital marketers across all industries.

In particular, Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Richmond, Calgary, and Vancouver have seen an exponential rise in the need for digital marketers, as these are some of the most populous cities in Canada. 

Resource: 7 Pros And Cons Of Doing Business In Canada

Job Opportunities

Digital marketing offers a vast array of job opportunities due to its diverse range of specializations. 

LinkedIn’s survey suggests a huge shortage of 230,000 digital marketing professionals in major cities. 

The affordability and analytics that come with digital marketing have made it a preferred choice over traditional marketing. 

With its numerous benefits, the job market in this field is seemingly endless.

According to major job portals and websites, the following job opportunities in the digital marketing field are available in Canada:

  • Glassdoor – 3,585 jobs
  • LinkedIn – 15,000+ jobs
  • Indeed – 4,368 jobs

Resource: Why Most Small Businesses In Canada Fail In Their First Year

Mobile and programmatic advertising trends

As the amount of web traffic from handhelds like mobiles and tablets grows, mobile marketing is increasingly seen as a necessary strategy for companies all over the world.

In Canada, the mobile revolution has seen mobile internet user numbers set to exceed 36 million by 2023, and this has had an influence on digital advertising spending. 

Data indicated that in 2021, mobile ad expenditure in Canada was estimated to be 8 billion U.S. dollars, and this is anticipated to double by 2026, principally due to online video and social media.

In the future, look out for the rise of programmatic advertising, an automated system of buying and selling digital ad space.

Forecasts anticipate that programmatic ad spending in Canada will surge with double-digit growth, as companies look to make their campaigns more efficient.

Digital Marketing Statistics in Canada

  • In 2021, the average Canadian spent six hours per day on digital media.
  • 5% of the population is now using the internet in Canada.
  • In 2021, 9.58 billion Canadian dollars were spent on digital marketing.
  • The share of digital marketing was 64.8% of the total spent on advertising in 2021.
  • The revenue from digital marketing was $12.323 billion Canadian dollars in 2021.
  • Most of the revenue, 46.2% came from searches, followed by social media at 26.1%
  • Audio, including podcasts and streaming, grew its revenue the most from 2020 to 2021 by 59%.
  • Google is the dominating search engine, with almost 92% of Canadians reporting they use it as their main search engine.
  • Advertising on Facebook yielded the most revenue at 53.49% of the social media market share. However, Instagram grew its traffic to external websites the most at 304.4%.
  • 94% of small businesses in Canada use social media for marketing at least once a month and 52% do so daily.
  • Majority of people do not think they can trust online advertising.
  • In 2020, 82% of Canadians shopped online and spent $84.4 billion.

Search engine market share in Canada

Google was the clear market leader in September 2021, with a dominant 92% share of the search engine market, according to Statista. 

Bing followed with nearly 5%, while Yahoo and DuckDuckGo had shares of 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.

For an advertiser, it is essential to ensure their content is optimized for search engines as nearly half of their digital marketing revenue comes from them.

It is worth noting that only 2.8% of people click on paid adverts. 

The majority of the revenue is generated from users searching for terms such as “the best deals” or “the best laptops in 2023”.

Resource: List Of Digital Marketing Companies in Canada

Which social media platforms drive the most revenue through website clicks?

In 2021, Facebook retained its status as the most popular platform for driving website clicks from social media, accounting for 53.49% of all referrals. 

Twitter and Pinterest followed with roughly 15% each, while other platforms such as Instagram saw a rise in popularity.

Facebook saw year-over-year growth of 2.8%, while clicks from Instagram and Reddit had a dramatic increase of 304.4% and 263.3%, respectively.

In contrast, Pinterest saw a decrease of 34.2% in clicks from the prior year.

YouTube and LinkedIn both saw a rise in clicks of 32.9% and 31.3%, respectively, with YouTube having a current share of 2.75% and LinkedIn 0.88%. Twitter and Tumblr were the other two platforms that saw a decrease in traffic, -14.3% for Twitter and -17.8% for Tumblr, compared to Pinterest.

Instagram’s share in digital advertising is expected to increase as more businesses begin to include external links in their Instagram Stories.

Online shopping in Canada in 2023

The market for electronic commerce (e-commerce), where customers and companies can purchase and offer items and administrations exclusively through digital means, has been developing quickly in the past 10 years. 

It is projected that worldwide electronic commerce retail sales will reach beyond seven trillion U.S. dollars by 2025. 

Canada, with its considerable digital population, has become a very profitable market in recent times.

In early 2022, retail e-commerce sales in Canada amounted to around three billion dollars per month and around 29 million Canadians were projected to purchase online by the end of the year. 

By 2025, revenue generated by the e-commerce market in the country is expected to exceed 90 billion U.S. dollars, nearly double the amount in 2021.

The Canadian way to pay

According to a recent study, credit cards remain the preferred payment method for online shopping in Canada, despite the emergence of various digital payment providers and technological advancements in the field of online payments. 

This trend is reflective of Canadians’ reluctance to adopt such services, highlighting several interesting characteristics of online payments.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a notable rise in the number of Canadians who prefer to use more advanced and non-conventional payment methods. 

This has been driven by the surge in online shopping, and the acceptance of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) and mobile wallets has been evident. 

In 2021, digital and mobile wallets held 8% of the market share of payment methods in Canada.


Canadians are using the internet for an average of 6 hours a day, making it clear that companies cannot ignore the potential of digital marketing. 

Although paid advertising may not directly generate a large amount of sales, the focus should instead be on audience engagement, as this often leads to increased sales.

Companies and individuals looking to boost their income through digital marketing in Canada can gain greater returns by producing website content that ranks high on search engines and interacting with their target market on social media sites.

Resource: 8 Reasons Why Online Marketing Is Important in Canada

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