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Canadian Adoption and Usage of the Mobile Internet


According to the latest market study by eMarketer, mobile phone penetration in Canada is not as pervasive or as fast-growing as in the U.S. marketplace, but the country that birthed the BlackBerry is rising rapidly when it comes to uptake of smartphones and media tablets.

Canadian mobile device adoption is already inspiring more mobile internet usage as a result. Therefore, savvy marketers on both sides of the 49th parallel are taking note.

The number of mobile internet users in Canada increased more than 28 percent in 2011 -- with an estimated 25 percent of the population using mobile internet access by the end of 2012.

eMarketer forecasts that user penetration will continue to rise, albeit at a somewhat slower pace, through 2016 -- when nearly half of the population will be mobile internet users.

"As adoption continues to increase, marketers are moving from getting their feet wet to executing more sophisticated campaigns,” said Paul Briggs, analyst at eMarketer.

Canada's brands and advertising agencies have apparently started to invest in the mobile channel, with mobile marketing increasingly occupying a dedicated line within more advertiser's campaign budgets.

In 2011, mobile ad spending in Canada reached a relatively paltry $80 million, according to eMarketer estimates, but that figure is expected to rise past $777 million in the next four years -- as creative mobile-first strategies begin to dominate the leading online marketer's efforts.

One of the primary challenges for marketers will be Canada's increasingly equitable spread of mobile operating systems. The anticipated OS share migration will occur as a result of RIM hemorrhaging its once dominant BlackBerry OS market share -- in the face of expanding ownership of Google Android and Apple iOS based smartphones.

According the the eMarketer assessment, reaching all smartphone users across Canada can require separate development projects for the various iterations of Android, BlackBerry and iOS devices.

Full market penetration is especially difficult when attempting to release apps that will engage consumers and serve as a venue for display ads. Therefore, reaching across all the major platforms in the Canadian marketplace can be costly and hard to manage.

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