Here are the most-used ad tech platforms in Canada

A data deep-dive on which online media tools Canada's top 500 advertisers are using

With so many ad tech companies competing for market share, it’s become nearly impossible for marketers to sort out which vendors are market leaders and which are the underdogs. To try and make things a little more transparent, Montreal-based technology firm AdGear has collected data on which platforms have the highest rate of adoption among Canada’s top online advertisers.

Following its research on tech adoption among the top 1,300 e-commerce advertisers in North America, AdGear reviewed the websites of ComScore’s 500 top-ranked online advertisers in Canada, looking for service providers’ code tags to determine which demand-side platforms, exchanges, analytics and data tools have seen the highest penetration among them.

While by no means the end-all indicator of market dominance, AdGear’s stats give a sense of which platforms have received the most traction with Canada’s largest online advertisers.

Not surprisingly, Google tops several categories, just as it did in AdGear’s top 1,300 e-comm advertisers tech adoption rankings. Its DoubleClick platform is used by fully 50% of the brands AdGear studied, either for programmatic buying, ad serving or selling inventory from their own websites.

Behind Google, the top programmatic demand-side platforms in Canada (in order Turn, MediaMath, The Trade Desk and Rocket Fuel) are companies that most marketers will know. However, the research shows that, on average, advertisers are using two or more buying platforms side-by-side – showing the industry has a long to go before the “all-in-one” buying platform becomes a reality.

(Note: DoubleClick appears to use the same code tag for DoubleClick Bid Manager, DoubleClick Exchange and DFA/DFP ad serving, so it is not clear how many of the websites are using Google to buy ads versus deliver or sell them. This may inflate Google’s market share in the DSP and exchange categories.)

Although the supply-side of the programmatic ecosystem doesn’t get a lot of media attention, the data shows heavy usage of exchanges like AppNexus and Rubicon. The top exchanges saw much higher penetration among the top 500 advertisers than any one buying platform.

It’s surprising to see American data providers like Exelate, Lotame, Acxiom and Datalogix with such significant uptake among Canadian advertisers, given that so much of the offline data they have comes from U.S. retailers. This may be a sign these companies have successfully re-positioned from the vast data warehouses they were once seen as to enterprise software platforms for aggregating and analyzing multi-source data.


Despite industry fears that Google could swallow the third-party ad serving market, its competitors have a fairly strong foothold in Canada, with Sizmek (formerly DG Mediamind) leading the pack. Note though that most advertisers use an agency or publisher ad server, so the percentage adoption rates won’t be very high.

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