Small business: the next frontier for Canadian digital media companies

by Andrea Wahbe

seedlings growingOver the past year, I’ve noticed an influx of Canadian digital media companies creating programs geared towards small to medium-sized business (SMBs). This 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.

  • 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.

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a first step to fulfilling that mission, Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search that took root in a Stanford University dorm room and quickly spread to information seekers around the globe. Google is now widely recognized as the world's... more

Shiny Ads
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Self serve advertising platform for web publishers. Allows long-tail advertisers to create banner advertisement, set up their campaign, and pay for ad buy in an automated interface. Ties into web publisher's existing ad server and handles payment automatically. more

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Andrea Wahbe

Andrea Wahbe

Andrea Wahbe is a freelance B2B marketing strategist and corporate storyteller who has contributed to the growth of online media businesses in Canada, such as AOL and Google. By day, Andrea writes about digital media and marketing trends and tips for Canadian startups and SMEs. By night, she’s an analog book reader, master swimmer and experimental chef.  more

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