Media planning and buying—2016 to 2017 Annual report on Government of Canada advertising activities

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Media planning and buying services are carried out by the government's agency of record (AOR). By consolidating the media buying power of many institutions, the AOR helps the government achieve cost savings.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, media purchased through the AOR accounted for $30.6 million or 85%, of all Government of Canada advertising expenditures. Of this, $3,256 was spent on international media.

When choosing the type of media to use for their campaigns, institutions consider many factors, including campaign objectives, how to best reach the intended audience, research results on trends, audience preferences, and best practices.

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Growth of digital advertising

For the first time ever, government advertising expenditures on digital media have surpassed television. This is consistent with overall Canadian advertising trends as indicated in table 2. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, Government of Canada digital media represented 54.7% of all advertising expenditures, and placements on social media represented 23.3%.

Table 2: Total net advertising spending in Canada in 2015: $12.4 billion

Media Expenditures
Television 27.2%
Community newspapers 7.1%
Daily newspapers 11.5%
Radio 12.7%
Digital 37.1%
Magazines 3.5%
Out-of-home 4.4%

Sources:

Advertising on digital media is an effective way of reaching Canadians because they use digital technologies in their daily lives and expect the government to embrace these means to communicate with them. Digital advertising is also an efficient way to reach specific audiences with messages tailored to questions relevant to them. 89.2% of Canadian households have internet access, and by 2020 the number of digital devices in North America is expected to reach 647 million devicesFootnote 1.

Policy on Communications and Federal Identity encourages the use of digital media as the primary means to connect and interact with the public.

Advertising on the internet and other digital platforms is a cost-effective way to reach Canadians in the official language of their choice, regardless of where they live. Government of Canada institutions continue to balance digital advertising with traditional methods to meet the diverse information needs of the public. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, digital, television and radio were the top 3 media types used for Government of Canada advertising. This accounted for $25.8 million, or 84.1%, of total media expenditures. In comparison, years ago (fiscal year 2012 to 2013), digital, television, and community and weekly newspapers were the top 3 media types bought and accounted for $49.3 million, or 90%, of total media expenditures.

Chart 2: Agency of record media placement expenditures by type

Chart 2: Agency of record media placement expenditures by type - Image description is below.

Source: Government of Canada agency of record, Cossette Media of Québec City, a division of Cossette Communication Group. Excludes media purchased directly by institutions.

Image description of Chart 2: Agency of record media placement expenditures by type

This pie chart shows the total amount of spending on media for Government of Canada advertising and the proportions spent on 8 types of media: digital, television, radio, print magazine, print daily or national newspapers, weekly and community newspapers, cinema, and out-of-home.

During the fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Government of Canada's agency of record made media placements for 107 advertising campaigns, representing $30.6 million in expenditures.

Of the total amount spent on government media placements:

  • $16,769,519 (54.7%) was spent on digital advertising
  • $955,016 (3.1%) was spent on out-of-home
  • $973,314 (3.2%) was spent on cinema
  • $463,899 (1.5%) was spent on weekly or community newspapers
  • $1,935,493 (6.3%) was spent on print daily or national newspapers
  • $539,219 (1.8%) was spent on print magazine
  • $2,618,111 (8.5%) was spent on radio
  • $6,377,972 (20.8%) was spent on television

Chart 3: Agency of record media placement expenditures by type–a 5-year view

Chart 3: Agency of record media placement expenditures by type–a 5-year view - Image description is below.

Source: Government of Canada agency of record, Cossette Media of Québec City, a division of Cossette Communication Group. Excludes media purchased directly by institutions.

Note

Print includes magazines, daily, weekly and community newspapers. Out-of-home includes cinema. Digital includes social media, display and search engine marketing.

Image description of Chart 3: Agency of record media placement expenditures by type–a 5-year view

This vertical bar chart shows the percentages of Government of Canada advertising media expenditures over a 5-year period from the fiscal year 2012 to 2013 to the fiscal year 2016 to 2017. The 5 types of media displayed in the graph are: television, digital, radio, print, and out-of-home.

The 5 types of media displayed in the graph are: television, digital, radio, print, and out-of-home.
Fiscal year Television Digital Radio Print Out-of-home
2012 to 2013 60% 20% 2% 13% 5%
2013 to 2014 46% 27% 12% 9% 6%
2014 to 2015 54% 28% 5% 9% 4%
2015 to 2016 51% 34% 5% 7% 3%
2016 to 2017 21% 55% 9% 10% 6%

Chart 4: Agency of record digital media placement expenditures–a 5-year view

Chart 4: Agency of record digital media placement expenditures–a 5-year view - Image description is below.

Source: Government of Canada agency of record, Cossette Media of Québec City, a division of Cossette Communication Group. Excludes media purchased directly by institutions.

Image description of Chart 4: Agency of record digital media placement expenditures–a 5-year view

This vertical bar chart shows the amount of Government of Canada advertising expenditures attributed to digital media, over a 5-year period, from the fiscal year 2012 to 2013 to the fiscal year 2016 to 2017. The chart displays 3 digital media categories: display, search engine marketing, and social media.

The chart displays 3 digital media categories: display, search engine marketing, and social media.
Fiscal year Social media Search engine marketing Display Total digital expenditures
2012 to 2013 6% 19% 76% $10.9 million
2013 to 2014 10% 12% 79% $15.6 million
2014 to 2015 26% 11% 62% $13.9 million
2015 to 2016 20% 14% 66% $10.3 million
2016 to 2017 42% 13% 45% $16.8 million

Featured campaigns

An overview of 3 featured Government of Canada advertising campaigns from the fiscal year 2016 to 2017.

Veterans Affairs Canada campaign

Veterans Affairs Canada campaign - Image description is below.

Description of Veterans Affairs Canada campaign

Remember veterans, visit Canada.ca/RememberThem and join in the conversation on social media using #RememberThem.

This $2.5 million campaign ran in November 2016 on television, print, social media and the internet.

  • Videos gained a total of 4.5 million views on all digital platforms (generated more than 790,000 new visitors to the campaign's web page)
  • Increased social media engagement by 32%
  • Attained a video recall rate of 48%

Parks Canada campaign

Parks Canada campaign - Image description is below.

Description of Parks Canada campaign

Your free pass to discovery.

Order your pass for free admission to Canada's parks and historic sites.

This $3 million campaign ran from February to March 2017 in cinemas and on television, social media and the internet.

  • Generated an average of 8,200 daily visits to the campaign web page
  • Increased visits to parks by 12% to 14.9 million visitors
  • Attained an ad recall rate of 60%

Employment and Social Development Canada campaign

Employment and Social Development Canada campaign - Image description is below.

Description of Employment and Social Development Canada campaign

Your future starts here.

Visit Canada.ca/leaderstoday to get information or to apply.

This $2.5 million campaign ran from January to March 2017 on social media and the internet.

  • Generated more than 11,100 new web visitors on Canada.ca/leaderstoday
  • Increased applications to the five featured programs ranging from 8.4% to 15.5%

Digital advertising fund

Public Services and Procurement Canada manages the digital advertising fund, through its Online Advertising Unit (OAU). The fund was established in fiscal year 2013 to 2014 to leverage digital advertising to communicate with Canadians rapidly about major announcements and priorities, including unforeseen issues. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the digital advertising fund expenditures were $930,367 for 9 priority campaigns.

Snapshot of a few digital campaigns

Snapshot of a few digital campaigns - Image description is below.

Description of Snapshot of a few digital campaigns

This image has 3 sections illustrating 3 Government of Canada digital campaigns.

Campaign 1: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Illness is illness.

Visit Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety to learn more.

This $75,000 campaign ran from January to February 2017 on social media and the internet.

  • Generated more than 43,200 unique web visitors to the campaign's web page
  • Garnered a 2.91% search engine marketing page engagement rate

Campaign 2: Canadian Border Services Agency

Visit Careers at the Canada Border Services Agency to find out what we do, learn who we are, how we work and to apply.
This $200,000 campaign ran in March 2017 on social media and the internet.

  • Generated more than 198,500 new visitors to the campaign's web page
  • Achieved up to a 5.24% engagement rate on social media platforms

Campaign 3: Transport Canada

Visit Canada.ca/Drone-Safety to read about the drone rules and regulations.
This $75,000 campaign ran from November 2016 to January 2017 on social media and the internet.

  • Generated more than 71,700 unique visitors to the campaign's web page
  • Achieved up to a 3.7% engagement rate on social media platforms

Ethnic, Indigenous and official language minority community media expenditures

This chart provides expenditures in targeted print, radio and television media aimed at ethnic, Indigenous and official language minority communities.

Chart 5: Agency of record ethnic, Indigenous, and official language minority community media placement expenditures in 2016 to 2017

Chart 5: Agency of record ethnic, Indigenous, and official language minority community media placement expenditures in 2016 to 2017 - Image description is below.

Source: Government of Canada agency of record, Cossette Media of Québec City, a division of Cossette Communication Group. Excludes media purchased directly by institutions.

Note

Official language television includes spending in selective outlets only. Spending on national networks, such as Radio-Canada, TVA and TQS, that reach mainstream audiences in addition to official language minority community media, are reported in charts 3 and 4.

Image description of Chart 5: Agency of record ethnic, Indigenous, and official language minority community media placement expenditures in 2016 to 2017

A series of 3 pie charts show the amount of Government of Canada advertising expenditures attributed to the purchase of specialized print, radio, television, and other advertisements aimed at ethnic, Indigenous and official language minority communities in the fiscal year 2016 to 2017.

Official language minority communities

  • 2016 to 2017 total: $505,642
    • radio: $254,925 
    • print: $250,717
  • 2015 to 2016 total: $460,065

Ethnic

  • 2016 to 2017 total: $642,298
    • television: $304,250
    • print: $158,234
    • radio: $114,239
    • other: $65,575
  • 2015 to 2016: $966,642

Indigenous

  • 2016 to 2017 total: $515,591
    • radio: $239,838
    • television: $210,399
    • print: $65,355
  • 2015 to 2016: $381,234

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