Social Media Use in Canada, 2017

Social media in Canada has reached a point of saturation, according to the latest data from Pollara.  Virtually all Canadians who are online use at least one social media network (91%), primarily Facebook (76%). The majority (60%) access social media using their smartphone or tablet, while 35% use a computer or laptop. 63% follow companies, brands or product pages.

The popularity of social media in Canada hasn’t escaped the notice of savvy marketers in this country. A survey from the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals & Ignite Digital, Canadian Marketers 2016 Outlook, found that social media engagement was the most important advertising category. In fact, 79% of respondents said social media was the number one activity contributing to their online marketing success. Their top digital marketing activities included social media engagement (83%) and social media monitoring (64%).

What Types of Pages do Canadians Follow on Social Media?

  • Companies, brands or products 63%
  • News media organizations and people 55%
  • Entertainment media, groups or celebrities 50%
  • Non-profit organizations or leaders 48%
  • Lifestyle, fashion or fitness media or personalities 44%
  • Governments or government departments 35%
  • Political parties or politicians 30%
  • Gamers 20%

Which social media platforms are the most popular in Canada?

We track as much Canadian social media data as we can find. In doing so, we’ve found network popularity can vary widely depending on who you ask. However, the one consistent result is Facebook’s number one status in Canada for visit and posting frequency. Interestingly, that changes when Canadians are asked which network they visit at least once per year. YouTube comes out on top among respondents who were asked that question in a recent Izea study.

The Pollara study has a few surprising findings. LinkedIn placing second in popularity was unexpected, but the real surprise was Google+ ranking third.

Facebook 76%
LinkedIn 48%
Google+ 42%
Instagram 34%
Twitter 34%
Pinterest 33%
YouTube channel owner 28%
YouTube 28%
Snapchat 21%
Online Discussion Board (excluding Reddit) 13%
Personal blog or website 11%
Tumblr 7%
Flickr 7%
Reddit 6%
Meetup 6%
Twitch channel subscription 3%
Vine 3%
Twitch TV channel owner 3%
Ask.fm 1%

What are the top social media networks in each province?

You may want to make some adjustments to your marketing strategy and budget if you do any provincial, regional or local advertising on social media.

British Columbia

Facebook 81%
LinkedIn 50%
Google+ 40%
Twitter 39%
Instagram 38%
Pinterest 35%
YouTube 31%
YouTube channel owner 27%
Online Discussion Board (excluding Reddit) 15%
Reddit 13%
Tumblr 11%
Snapchat 10%
Personal blog or website 10%
Flickr 7%
Ask.fm 7%
Twitch TV channel owner 3%
Meetup 3%
Twitch channel subscription 2%
Vine 2%

Alberta

Facebook 68%
LinkedIn 53%
Google+ 39%
Instagram 36%
Pinterest 31%
Twitter 28%
YouTube 25%
YouTube channel owner 22%
Snapchat 22%
Online Discussion Board (excluding Reddit) 10%
Meetup 9%
Personal blog or website 8%
Reddit 5%
Flickr 4%
Tumblr 3%
Twitch channel subscription 3%
Vine 2%
Twitch TV channel owner 1%
Ask.fm 1%

Saskatchewan & Manitoba

Facebook 64%
Pinterest 36%
LinkedIn 32%
Google+ 32%
YouTube 27%
Instagram 26%
Twitter 25%
YouTube channel owner 22%
Snapchat 22%
Online Discussion Board (excluding Reddit) 9%
Personal blog or website 8%
Tumblr 8%
Flickr 3%
Reddit 3%
Meetup 1%
Twitch channel subscription 1%
Vine 1%
Twitch TV channel owner 1%
Ask.fm 1%

Ontario

Facebook 75%
LinkedIn 54%
Google+ 47%
Instagram 40%
Twitter 38%
YouTube 32%
Pinterest 30%
YouTube channel owner 29%
Snapchat 22%
Online Discussion Board (excluding Reddit) 18%
Personal blog or website 11%
Tumblr 9%
Flickr 8%
Reddit 6%
Meetup 4%
Twitch channel subscription 4%
Vine 3%
Twitch TV channel owner 1%
Ask.fm 1%

Quebec

Facebook 78%
LinkedIn 42%
Google+ 42%
Pinterest 35%
YouTube channel owner 33%
Twitter 28%
Instagram 27%
YouTube 24%
Snapchat 20%
Online Discussion Board (excluding Reddit) 11%
Personal blog or website 10%
Flickr 7%
Tumblr 6%
Reddit 6%
Meetup 3%
Twitch channel subscription 3%
Twitch TV channel owner 3%
Vine 2%
Ask.fm 2%

Atlantic Canada

Facebook 82%
LinkedIn 39%
Google+ 39%
Twitter 37%
Pinterest 36%
Instagram 29%
YouTube channel owner 29%
YouTube 23%
Snapchat 23%
Personal blog or website 13%
Online Discussion Board (excluding Reddit) 10%
Tumblr 6%
Flickr 6%
Reddit 6%
Meetup 5%
Twitch TV channel owner 5%
Twitch channel subscription 5%
Vine 2%
Ask.fm 1%

Knowing which networks rank highest in Canada and in individual provinces is only the beginning of what marketers must know in order to have an effective social strategy. A 2017 Social Media Examiner report identified the following top four questions marketers struggle most with in social media marketing:

  • What social tactics are most effective?
  • What are the best ways to engage my audience?
  • What are the best ways to use paid advertising on social media?
  • How do I find my target audience?

The reason they struggle with these questions is because the answers can’t be taught. Every niche and brand has different answers and those answers are in a perpetual state of change. It all comes down to knowing your specific audience on a deep level, and constantly testing and analyzing. All of the education and experience in the world will not help marketers determine what works for their company. Only an extreme level of passion and curiosity will drive someone to dissect and analyze consumers to a truly useful degree. Businesses need to hire for these qualities above all else, then provide the time and a reasonable budget for these wizards to work their magic.

It’s also important to define your expectations, as opposed to social marketing just because it’s supposed to work. There are many benefits to social media marketing that can become your goals.

The Social Media Examiner survey respondents identified the following benefits:

  1. Increased exposure
  2. Increased traffic
  3. Developed loyal fans
  4. Provided marketplace insight
  5. Generated leads
  6. Increased thought leadership
  7. Grew business partnerships
  8. Improved sales

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Social Media User Profiles for the Top 8 Networks in Canada

Some of the information required for effective campaigns is available as a general overview. Use the following Canadian social media statistics from the Pollara report to start molding a more detailed picture of your specific target market.

76% of online Canadians use Facebook

Snapshot of Canadian Facebook Users:

  • 68% of Canadians check Facebook daily and 89% check it at least once per week. 98% check the network a few times per year.
  • 21% post on Facebook at least once per day and 40% post a minimum of once per week.
  • 18% of Canadians share the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media on Facebook a minimum of once per day. 40% share at least one post per week and 80% share posts a few times each year.

Survey question: Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]

  • Genders: Female (81%), Male (70%)
  • Ages: 18-34 (82%), 35-44 (82%), 45-54 (80%), 55-64 (74%), 65+ (58%)
  • Education: High School or Less (65%), College (76%), University (79%)

48% of online Canadians use LinkedIn

Snapshot of Canadian LinkedIn Users:

  • 20% of Canadians check LinkedIn daily and 47% check it at least once per week. 94% check the network a few times per year.
  • 5% post on LinkedIn at least once per day and 14% post a minimum of once per week.
  • 6% of Canadians share the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media on LinkedIn a minimum of once per day. 13% share at least one post per week and 39% share posts a few times each year.

Survey question: Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]

  • Genders: Female (44%), Male (52%)
  • Ages: 18-34 (59%), 35-44 (55%), 45-54 (53%), 55-64 (37%), 65+ (32%)
  • Education: High School or Less (21%), College (42%), University (59%)

42% of online Canadians use Google+

Snapshot of Canadian Google+ Users:

  • 31% of Canadians check Google+ daily and 56% check it at least once per week. 87% check the network a few times per year.
  • 8% post on Google+ at least once per day and 17% post a minimum of once per week.
  • 6% of Canadians share the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media on Google+ a minimum of once per day. 17% share at least one post per week and 39% share posts a few times each year.

Survey question: Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]

  • Genders: Female (40%), Male (46%)
  • Ages: 18-34 (48%), 35-44 (49%), 45-54 (48%), 55-64 (39%), 65+ (28%)
  • Education: High School or Less (34%), College (44%), University (44%)

34% of online Canadians use Instagram

Snapshot of Canadian Instagram Users:

  • 49% of Canadians check Instagram daily and 74% check it at least once per week. 96% check the network a few times per year.
  • 12% post on Instagram at least once per day and 30% post a minimum of once per week.
  • 7% of Canadians share the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media on Instagram a minimum of once per day. 19% share at least one post per week and 54% share posts a few times each year.

Survey question: Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]

  • Genders: Female (36%), Male (33%)
  • Ages: 18-34 (60%), 35-44 (43%), 45-54 (29%), 55-64 (22%), 65+ (7%)
  • Education: High School or Less (24%), College (29%), University (41%)

34% of online Canadians use Twitter

Snapshot of Canadian Twitter Users:

  • 39% of Canadians check Twitter daily and 64% check it at least once per week. 93% check the network a few times per year.
  • 11% post on Twitter at least once per day and 23% post a minimum of once per week.
  • 10% of Canadians share the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media on Twitter a minimum of once per day. 26% share at least one post per week and 60% share posts a few times each year.

Survey question: Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]

  • Genders: Female (32%), Male (36%)
  • Ages: 18-34 (46%), 35-44 (48%), 45-54 (34%), 55-64 (20%), 65+ (18%)
  • Education: High School or Less (25%), College (31%), University (39%)

33% of online Canadians use Pinterest

Snapshot of Canadian Pinterest Users:

  • 27% of Canadians check Pinterest daily and 60% check it at least once per week. 95% check the network a few times per year.
  • 6% post on Pinterest at least once per day and 13% post a minimum of once per week.
  • 7% of Canadians share the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media on Pinterest a minimum of once per day. 15% share at least one post per week and 52% share posts a few times each year.

Survey question: Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]

  • Genders: Female (44%), Male (22%)
  • Ages: 18-34 (38%), 35-44 (39%), 45-54 (33%), 55-64 (22%), 65+ (31%)
  • Education: High School or Less (28%), College (36%), University (32%)

28% of online Canadians have a YouTube Account

Snapshot of Canadian YouTube Users:

  • 22% of Canadians check YouTube daily and 47% check it at least once per week. 77% check the network a few times per year.
  • 6% post on YouTube at least once per day and 14% post a minimum of once per week.
  • 8% of Canadians share the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media on YouTube a minimum of once per day. 17% share at least one post per week and 43% share posts a few times each year.

Survey question: Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]

  • Genders: Female (24%), Male (33%)
  • Ages: 18-34 (39%), 35-44 (30%), 45-54 (30%), 55-64 (25%), 65+ (15%)
  • Education: High School or Less (23%), College (31%), University (30%)

21% of online Canadians use Snapchat

Snapshot of Canadian Snapchat Users:

  • 41% of Canadians check Snapchat daily and 65% check it at least once per week. 87% check the network a few times per year.
  • 17% post on Snapchat at least once per day and 40% post a minimum of once per week.
  • 12% of Canadians share the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media on Snapchat a minimum of once per day. 24% share at least one post per week and 37% share posts a few times each year.

Survey question: Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]

  • Genders: Female (21%), Male (22%)
  • Ages: 18-34 (49%), 35-44 (19%), 45-54 (14%), 55-64 (7%), 65+ (2%)
  • Education: High School or Less (18%), College (21%), University (23%)

Further reading:

How Canadian Social Media Use Compares to Other Countries
How to Increase Your Canadian Reach on Twitter
Pinterest Use in Canada is Growing Rapidly
A Staggering 90% of Canadian Online Moms Love YouTube
Review: LinkedU Advanced LinkedIn Marketing Training

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessAre you surprised by the most popular social media networks in Canada?  How are you using social media in your Canadian marketing strategy?  Please share your comments below.

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4 Responses to "Social Media Use in Canada, 2017"

  1. Anders  October 12, 2017

    The problem with social media is the networks are trying to monetize it to a point where you can’t get organic reach on most of them. It used to be a great place for small businesses to get exposure for free but that’s a thing of the past. Facebook and Instagram are pretty much toast for organic reach. Pinterest is trying to do the same thing. Twitter is still pretty good but it doesn’t reach everyone like Facebook does.

    Reply
  2. Sonny Baxter  October 12, 2017

    Every year I see more people on social media. Like people I never thought would be on FAcebook, like Grannies or people on social assistance. It’s the marketplace of the future!!

    Reply
  3. Ed Strapagiel  October 10, 2017

    Hi Melody,

    I’m confused. Shouldn’t the percentages given for Genders, Ages and Education each add up to 100%? If not, then what are these percentages?

    Ed S

    Reply
    • Admin: Melody McKinnon  October 10, 2017

      They extracted the data from a question with multiple answers, “Please indicate if you have each of the following [social networks]”, as opposed to asking “Do you use Facebook” or other specific network.

      Reply

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