Small business: the next frontier for Canadian digital media companies

Over the past year, I’ve noticed an influx of Canadian digital media companies creating programs geared towards small to medium-sized business (SMBs). Thisseedlings growing is definitely a sign that the Canadian digital media industry is maturing. As a result, media companies are starting to make a play for small business customers to try to increase their revenue opportunities.

Here are just some of the Canadian businesses that have announced programs to cater to SMBs:

This Toronto-based startup was created because small businesses are often ignored by large Canadian digital media companies. This is because large media companies usually have a minimum spend requirement before they can service a client. This usually involves an advertising spend that very few SMBs can afford. The reason for the minimum spend requirement is that it would actually cost the media company more to manage a small ad campaign, based on man hours and ad trafficking costs, than the campaign is actually worth.

So, ShinyAds created a sell-service platform that enables small businesses to manage their own ad campaigns on websites that would have otherwise ignored them. This works out well both for the media companies and the SMBs.

Google Canada
Google has always offered a self-service platform for small businesses. However, the bigger challenge that they have faced is that more than half of Canadian small businesses do not currently have a website.

  • The “Canada Get Your Business Online” program was therefore developed by Google Canada to entice SMBs to build a website. As an incentive, Google is offering free websites and .ca domains to all small businesses in Canada who sign-up for the program.
  • The company recently launched another program called “Engage Canada” to assist digital marketing agencies, and other web-based companies that service small businesses, to educate their clients on how to advertise with Google. The company is offering discounts for small businesses to get started with Google AdWords. They also recently hosted a series of seminars in Toronto and Vancouver to teach small businesses about how to set-up and manage an AdWords campaign.

Yellow Pages Group
The Yellow Pages Group (YPG) has always catered to small businesses with their listing services. However, they are now making a big play to compete with the likes of Google and other major players like Olive Media to compete in the digital marketing space. YPG’s launch of Mediative last fall is a confirmation of that strategy.

  • In May, the Yellow Pages Group hosted a three-part seminar series to teach small business owners about digital marketing. Here’s an overview of the program that they created and hosted online.
  • The Yellow Pages Group has also launched a “YellowAPI Developer Program.” By providing BETA funding as well as access to internal YPG resources (i.e. consultation on design, QA, legal guidance, etc.), YellowAPI helps entrepreneurial web and mobile application developers to produce cross-platform search apps.

If you know of other Canadian digital media companies that are creating programs to cater to small business, let me know and I’d be happy to profile them.

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