Of all the shifting landscapes in marketing, mobile advertising is the most dramatic. For advertisers, it’s the greenest platform with the most opportunity for strategy adjustments, and while there are some pitfalls for the savvy marketer to manage, namely CTRs and conversions. Having a better understanding of this landscape can be the difference between being a pop up ad, and providing something people want to engage with and buy.

The majority of Canadians own smartphones

Canadian Smartphone Penetration 2014-2015

61.5 percent of Canadians now own a smartphone, and three-fourths of internet users in total own them. This means that most internet users are reachable on mobile, making it a very viable platform for advertisers.

That’s two-thirds of the country on smartphones, and the rest, well…one in three Canadians don't have a smartphone

Fast 4G LTE connections are growing QUICKLY

4G LTE Connections from 2015 - 2020

The number of fast 4G LTE connections is on the rise in Canada, surpassing even the growth rate in the United States. Canada’s adoption rate is at 54 percent, and by 2020 will hit 76 percent. In the same period, 4G LTE data use will likely rise from 83 percent up to 95 percent of all mobile data usage.

The adoption rate is growing at same rate that these basketball players are getting taller — and closer to the net. Clearly, the growth is advantageous.Basketball players get pretty tall

These faster connections give advertisers more freedom with their creative — elaborate and data-hungry advertisements can be deployed more with less caution.

Time spent consuming media ON smartphones second only to TV

2016 Canadian Media Consumption by Device

In 2016, Canadians consumed media on their smartphones for an average of two hours and 20 minutes a day. This is second only to that extended family member in the living room: the TV. Time spent watching TV is declining, but only by a small amount per day.

Poor TV is being forgotten

However, every year, mobile is taking more and more time away from desktop and laptop media consumption — an important consideration when planning your digital budget.

ad spending ON mobile is increasing BUT STILL DOESN’T match time spent on mobile

Time Spent vs. Ad Spending by media

Marketers do take mobile seriously as an advertising platform, and mobile ad spending has increased a dramatic 55 percent between 2015 and 2016. However, the average percentage of a budget spent on mobile advertising (17.7 percent) is still significantly behind the percentage of time consumers spend on the platform (25.7 percent). This shows a lingering lack of confidence in mobile spending.

Not investing in mobile is a bit like stubbornly sticking to an old technology:

Old tech vs. New Tech comic

MOST Canadians who use social media DO SO on mobile

87.9% of social media users in Canada check social on their mobile

Of all Canadian social media users, 87.9 percent of them are checking their accounts on mobile. When using social media as an advertising platform, it’s important to keep mobile optimization a priority.

Increasingly, content is being consumed directly from social media rather than websites. Facebook even has a program called Instant Articles that hosts news content from verified publishers to keep users on the platform longer. Social media will remain a growing consideration for marketers looking to expand their audience reach in the future.

With nine out of ten social media users checking their social on mobile, that’s only one person missing out:

9/10 social media users on social comic

Video consumption on mobile is increasing

57% of smartphone users watch video on mobile

You’re probably sick of hearing people say “pivot to video,” but there’s a reason it’s become so commonly used. Video consumption on mobile is on the rise, making video a more viable advertising avenue on all platforms. Over half of all smartphone users now watch video on mobile and this trend is only increasing.

adorable cats and dogs comic

Video CTR on mobile is poor

Despite solid completion rates on mobile, click through rates are fairly low sitting at 0.3 percent on Android and 0.4 percent on iOS according to TubeMogul reporting in the 4th quarter of 2015.

There may be something inherently discouraging about mobile that leads to poor CTR.

mobile advertising yoga comic

Or maybe mobile optimization will come to the rescue.

Mobile shopping is on the rise

Average mobile spending in Canada

People are starting to embrace shopping on their phone, with a quarter of e-commerce transactions being made on mobile. In 2016, Canadian mobile shoppers spent an average of $702, which is double the amount from two years prior.

It seems that Canadians are finally beginning to get over their fear of shopping on mobile phones.

Canadians mobile purchase comic part 1

MOBILE Shoppers are yet to convert as well as desktop

desktop conversion rate 3x higher than mobile

Mobile is, however, still behind desktop in terms of conversions. In a study of Cyber Weekend in 2015, consumers showed a tendency to add to cart less (8.7 percent vs 11.9 percent), convert less (1.0 percent vs 3.1 percent) and abandon a cart item more frequently (88.2 percent vs 74.2 percent) than on desktop.

Canadians mobile purchase comic part 2

With 4G LTE connections on the rise and mobile optimization becoming more common, mobile e-commerce’s future is looking bright.

Millennials are more likely to make purchases on mobile

smartphone purchases by age group

Millennials are the least fearful of mobile shopping, with 65 percent of younger millennials and 63 percent of older millennials making purchases on their smartphones. This comfort level with mobile shopping is likely influenced by growing up with the internet and, for younger millennials, growing up with mobile.

millennials purchasing on mobile comic

Millennials DO research on their phone in-store

44% of millennials look up info about products while in store

When it comes to shopping in-store, 44 percent of millennials will research products on the spot. This is a key moment for marketers to zero in on — otherwise, you’re left to the mercy of online reviews.

Millennials review products in store on mobile comic

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Steve Patrick Adams is a writer, illustrator, and animator with a glowing love of all things Ad Tech. He's been a digital media producer since 2010 when he got his start working for Bite (Blue Ant Media) and has since worked for a variety of publishers including CBC Comedy, Mashable, and IAB Canada.