How Canadian is your digital advertising?
It’s no secret that digital advertising has an enormous influence on Canadians. In fact, statistics show that in 2016 alone, there was $4.8 billion in digital ad spending in the country.
But the big challenge for advertisers as a whole is how to break through the digital noise to stand out from others. To do this, original approaches and effective campaigns are needed. This can be especially challenging to advertisers in Canada. They need to be original and specific to reach new clients while following rules.
Here are some things to know about the Canadian marketing landscape, and some effective digital advertising examples.
One of the biggest challenges for Canadian advertisers is the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which came into effect in 2014. The legislation says that businesses cannot send electronic ads to customers without their consent (otherwise known as spam.)
That includes messages sent by text, email or via social media.
The trick is for digital advertisers to get potential customers to sign up for communications, such as newsletters or product updates. That means if a company wants to send marketing material to a customer on a regular basis, they need to first convince them to allow it.
There must also be a way for customers to opt out of electronic communications at any time.
One way Canadian companies have been winning readership is by offering people to sign up for electronic messages through their website. However, if the company and the client don’t already have an existing relationship, the customer may never end up on a particular business page.
This is where social media can make a huge impact. Posting interesting content on your business page often may help boost your ranking in search engines. However, if you really want to create interest, then offer some incentives.
For example, businesses can say “sign up for our newsletter and receive a special offer,” without giving away what that special offer might be. It could be a one-time offer 10 percent off a particular product, or a preview of new products before they are released to the public.
In any case, digital marketing in Canada requires creating value for subscribers. They must feel like they’re getting something in return for reading your ads.
Canadian companies may have to give something to a customer for free before earning their brand loyalty.
That can mean giving away one product or service through a contest. The idea to run a contest that requires a customer to sign up first, and social media is a great way to get the word out about this. Consider that Facebook alone has more than 1.45 billion active users.
However, it needs to be made perfectly clear that marketing messages will be sent during and after the contest. Companies need to have the customer click a box, for example, to agree to the terms and conditions.
Companies can also get a sponsor to provide a prize, but under the CASL rules, the sponsor must be identified. The contestant must also fully consent to a third party, such as a sponsor, to include them in their email list.
Creating a Purely Canadian Campaign
Another challenge for Canadian marketers is showing Canadian vs USA differences. Canadian companies tend to get lumped in with others across North America. However, this provides an opportunity for Canadian companies to shine with campaigns.
That means zeroing in on something that is unique to Canada. For example, major brand, Canadian Tire, created a campaign in 2016 ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio.
The ‘Pedestal’ campaign shows ordinary Canadians (and some celebrated Canadians), stepping onto a pedestal in an everyday setting. It was designed to encourage Canadians to stand tall together.
Canadian Tire nailed it again when they introduced their ‘Red and White’ campaign in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. It shows thousands of red and white Christmas lights coming on across the country, with a cover of ‘True Colors’ playing in the background.
Of course, focusing on red and white – the colors of the Canadian flag – and not red, white and blue can help distinguish Canadian brands. It can also help make a distinction between Canadian culture vs American culture.
Canadian Digital Advertising Examples
There are several examples of successful digital advertising campaigns in Canada in recent years, so let’s take a closer look at some of them.
One of the most successful in the past decade in the country is Sid Lee’s campaign for Adidas. Using a blend of media including online and social media, it created a 30 percent sales spike in the first month.
How did the campaign achieve this?
Pop culture icons (including Run DMC) took part, joining forces to create original content to engage viewers on different platforms. It also allowed viewers to take part in the campaign through a hashtag.
The campaign won the ad agency an award in 2010.
An annual digital campaign that has been huge in Canada is the Bell Let’s Talk Day. The company encourages people to share their own mental health struggles online. Bell also connects with higher-profile Canadians to tell their own stories.
The company makes a donation for online interactions using the campaign hashtag.
So far, the company has raised more than $100 million for mental health in Canada.
Another easily recognizable brand in Canada, Tim Hortons, is also using digital marketing to its advantage. It created a campaign that allows Canadians to post about their connection to Tim Hortons through an interactive website.
The platform allowed people to upload stories, pictures, and video about the brand, allowing others to comment on it. It plays on Canadian history, with featured video of Tim Horton, a former NHL player with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Creating unique Canadian content can be done like this on a grand scale, but can also be scaled down depending on your audience and budget.
Create Effective Digital Marketing in Canada
There’s no doubt that digital advertising can have a huge impact on your business in Canada, and beyond. That’s why you should hire a company that can help boost your online marketing strategy.
Contact us today to see digital advertising examples, and to find out how to maximize your digital reach through websites, social media campaigns, and more.