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It's taken two decades, but the time has finally arrived: Canadian advertisers now spend more on digital ads than they do on print, radio and television, according to a new report from IAB Canada.

Digital ad revenue in the country jumped 14 per cent last year to $3.5-billion. And there are no signs of this trend slowing down.

"This reinforces the fundamental position that digital media has earned over the last 20 years in the advertiser's toolbox," says IAB Canada president Chris Willams. "Given that Canadians rank among the most active internet users in the world it comes as no surprise that the largest share of spend is on digital platforms."

Digital ad revenues are expected to increase another 13 per cent by the end of this year – reaching the $4-billion mark.

Mobile and online video have consistently outpaced overall digital growth rates over the past five years, especially in 2013 which saw mobile up 177 per cent and online video spending grow 53 per cent.

"The increased ad spend in online video and significant revenue growth demonstrates the market's voracious appetite for video as Canadians spend more time with online video," says Eric Morris, head of performance advertising at Google.

The automotive and consumer-packaged-goods industries are leading the charge to digital, with 15 per cent of total Canadian digital revenue coming from these sectors. Retail and financial services follow close behind with 10 per cent share coming from each industry.

With the evolution of digital, there's no shortage of opportunities for Canadian advertisers to think big, and think outside of the box.

One of the beautiful things with digital is that it's easy to target your exact demographic, and measure your results so there is no questioning where every ad dollar is going.

This is the one core area which traditional advertising cannot compete with – and why we'll see more ad dollars shifted to digital for years to come.

Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist and anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV, a Canadian online video production, advertising and social media marketing agency. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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