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Who Pays When Ads Eat Your Capped Mobile Data?

A hot topic on Reddit last week saw users complaining that unwanted/unsolicited advertising is consuming limited mobile data plans. This piqued our interest as Adster Creative is in the business of delivering leads for our clients through online advertising.  

Who loves the Net?

Who doesn’t love the internet!? It’s everywhere, it’s fun, it’s educational, it’s good for business and oh so much more! Especially with the endless supply of cat videos and memes, what more could we want? Well, we want it fast and we want it free! This handy infographic shows what a typical 60 seconds looks like for the Internet.


Credit: Go Globe Web Design

Wow…THAT is a LOT of data.

Why is mobile data capped?

The infrastructure enabling your access to the internet is supported by millions of people and companies paying to have access (primarily in the case of consumers) or their websites published (primarily in the case of the companies) on the internet.

With consumers and companies demanding better access to a richer internet content, telecom companies need to invest in and recoup costs for, top of the line infrastructure to satisfy this growing demand.

To ensure that avid internet users leave room for everyone to have a good experience on provider networks, mobile data tends to be capped in Canada, and it can be expensive to get data plans exceeding 2GB.  According to big telecom, limiting data plans ensures that their infrastructure has sufficient capacity for their subscriber base.

Using capped mobile data for ads.

The question then arises: Is it fair for advertisers to use consume your limited/capped data with ads that you didn’t ask for?  Reddit users made comparisons to not paying for electricity when television commercials were shown on cable shows, which only highlights the strangeness of it all.


This problem only appears where your mobile data is soft-limited or capped and you pay a much higher rate when you exceed that limit.  It is easy to see that, in the case of the television ad analogy, because electricity is essentially limitless at a fixed rate, that the concern of using electricity to view an unwanted ad is low to none.

The public is upset with being squeezed from both ends and as a result, the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Television Commission) issued a Notice of Consultation to obtain public input from Reddit users as to whether having data caps is in the public interest. Note that you must be a registered Reddit user to participate. Suffice to say, the outcome will be interesting, and eliminating Canadian mobile data plan caps would be a huge step forward.

What does this mean for businesses?

In a market like Canada, until the mobile data pipeline becomes unlimited, identifying whether your customer is a mobile user highlights why designing a responsive website and coupling them with Google Search & Display ads which are relevant, focused, and compelling can make a monetary difference to the customer you’re attracting. Now, when a customer ‘spends’ their data on your ad and website, everyone can feel good about the exchange.

If you are a small or medium sized business in Canada, Adster Creative can make your online advertising campaigns effective. Reach out and let us know how we can help. Our team stays on top of the latest trends and can help you maximize your internet dollar!