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Standard Media Index, a tracker of ad-spending and pricing data that has in recent years become more widely adopted in the U.S., is set to launch its service in Canada.

“For the first time in Canada, Standard Media Index will provide the industry with a way of monitoring performance of ad spend across all media types on a monthly basis”, said James Fennessy, the company’s CEO.  “In Canada, our products will capture an incredible 94% of all national brand spend. Data collected through Standard Media Index’s relationship with all the major agency holding groups will provide much needed insight into the $7 billion annually that makes up national Canadian advertising spend.”

SMI hopes to give Canadian advertisers, agencies and media outlets new benchmarks they can use to understand the range of prices being charged for media, to see which advertisers are spending, and in what sorts of media they are investing. SMI operates in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

SMI aggregates all media spend from the billing systems of agency partners, and tracks spending across television, digital, out-of-home, print, and radio. Depending on the market, data can be broken down by unit cost, media owner, ad type, buy type, advertiser product category, and other dimensions. Reporting within the Standard Media Index platform will date back to January 2017.

Senior executives at Canadian buying agencies said they were interested in using SMI’s information. “The frequency and granularity of the ad intelligence data will be a welcome addition to the market and will address a major issue: a lack of transparency into the ebbs and flows of demand,” said Sebastian Rennie, chief investment of WPP’s GroupM Canada, in a prepared statement. “There is a need in our industry and marketplace for greater transparency and insight into critical benchmarks that have such dramatic impact on our business, most notably investments by channel and the associated media price points secured across varied advertising categories,” said Valerie McMorran, executive vice president of investment, Publicis Media Canada, in a statement.

Fennessy said SMI in Canada has established ties with all the major agencies in Canada except Vision 7, which will give the company insight into 94% of national spend. In the U.S., SMI will track 85% of the market starting in August after striking a pact with WPP’s GroupM. SMI in the U.S. works with the bulk of big media buying agencies and independents, leaving Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands unit as the only major buying group whose data it does not have.

 “We are thrilled to be entering the Canadian market, especially at a time where advertising has been so impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our data will allow media owners and brands to understand the impact COVID has had on the marketplace and determine the best where the best opportunities lie in this radically changed world,’ said Fennessy,

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