In 2018, $0.42 of every advertising dollar in Canada went to Facebook or Google, which equates to 78.2% of all online ad spend. That means there was less than a quarter leftover for other big players like Amazon, Microsoft, Verizon and Twitter to fight over with Canadian publishers like CBC, Corus, Rogers, Bell and Pelmorex left chasing scraps.
There’s not much debate around whether monopolies are good for industry. Both Google and Facebook have had a profoundly negative impact on journalism, from their facilitation of misinformation to their impact on jobs as advertising dollars have been filtered away from newsrooms. Every year they take a larger share of the advertising pie and put the long term health of the advertising industry at greater risk.
In the summer, many of our clients asked us if they should join the Facebook boycott and as their agency we said, well, it depends, because these are decisions personal to each brand and that impact their marketing and business objectives.
Today, DSA is taking steps to address this by introducing our local initiative. Put simply, this is a planning pledge for our clients that opt-in to ensure that no more than 50% of their digital media budgets will go to Facebook and Google properties. Of the remaining 50%, some may go to other large digital players, but a minimum of 25% will be allocated specifically to trusted Canadian publishers, with thresholds unique to each client’s strategy.
It gives our planners the flexibility to still build exceptionally strategic campaigns and our clients the comfort of knowing their dollars are being spent responsibly. And more importantly, with our focus on using programmatic to purchase premium, Canadian publisher content through our network of private marketplace deals, we believe we can do it without compromising performance while increasing brand safety and reducing fraud.
If you’re a brand or agency interested in similar strategies, we’d be happy to chat.