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Third Screen Continues to Grow in Popularity in Canada

Although often referred to as the “third screen”, there are actually more mobile devices (2.8 billion) worldwide than internet PCs and TVs combined (2.5 billion)! 
A few reports have been released over the last week that highlight the fact that adoption continues to grow in Canada and how people (and marketers) who are using Mobile devices are changing too.
Here are some highlights:

Text Messaging (SMS):  793.3 million text messages were sent in June 2007 alone – or about 26.5 million per day. 4.3 billion text messages were sent up until June of this year – which equals the total of all text messages sent in 2006. It’s very possible that we’ll see upwards of 10 billion text messages sent this year in Canada.  One reason driving this trend is the mass adoption of "all you can eat" SMS plans in Canada. For about $10/month, you can text all you want.  Marketers have also been getting more into the game – there are about 300 active shortcodes in Canada right now.  Source: CWTA


Mobile Ad serving: According to Admob – one of the world’s largest mobile marketplace, 42% of all mobile ad impressions (text and browse) are U.S. based. India is next at 10%, followed by South Africa at 6.9% and the UK at 5.4%. Canada’s inventory represents only 1.6%. Although mobile ads can be served many different ways (downloads, mobile communities, news & information mobile web portals), Canadian carriers have not yet embraced mobile ad serving like in other countries. Look for this to change soon.

Mobile Browse: With no “all you can eat” data plans yet available to the consumer in Canada, usage of Mobile browse is still pretty low at around 11%.  This is less than half the world’s average which is around 25%.  In countries where data plans are either fixed or really cheap, the mobile web has really taken off. The top 5 markets for the mobile web are the U.S., India, South Africa, UK, and Indonesia.  Also interesting is that 4 of the top 10 mobile devices in the U.S. are PDAs – three Blackberry models and the Samsung Blackjack.  Until the Canadian carriers offer really cheap or fixed data plans, we don’t expect the same growth in mobile web as other mobile channels. This may all change when the iPhone eventually makes its way to Canada…so stay tuned!

It’s been an exciting year so far for Mobile. It may be time to start referring to mobile as the “first” screen.