2018 Social Media Use in Canada

It comes as no surprise that virtually all Canadians with internet access use social media to one degree or another. The vast majority of us have a Facebook account, at the very least.

Online marketers need more than a basic awareness of social media use in this country, however. Targeted campaigns require data pertaining to preferred networks within specific demographics. Effective campaigns also require information about how users engage with companies online, and what they’re saying about them.

The scarcity of Canadian social media statistics make this information that much more valuable, which is why we scour the internet in search of it. The Canadian SOCIALscape 2018 report is now live and we’ve summarized the data that’s most important to online business and marketing. We have also included data from other sources, resulting an a more complete picture of social media use in Canada.

Fifty-six percent of the Canadian social media users surveyed say they follow companies, products or brands. Sixteen percent of Canadians post about companies/products/services/brands on social media. The hottest post topics in Canada include several categories that businesses may be able to use with various social marketing methods, including humour, health, food, hobbies, and self improvement.

Organically reaching social media users is challenging, however, with feed visibility dropping on most networks (next to nil on Facebook).  Consequently, engagement is dropping dramatically right along with it. In fact, BuzzSumo analyzed 43 million Facebook posts from the top 20,000 brands and found engagement plummeted by over 50% over the last 18 months.

The most success will come from expertly-targeted, paid campaigns on whichever network your target market uses most. For organic (free) reach, you’re better off trying networks other than Facebook and Instagram. They may have less Canadian users, but the increased exposure can provide better results.

The Most Popular Social Media Platforms in Canada

According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), 74 percent of Canadians spend at least 3-4 hours online per day. The third most popular online activity is engaging on social media (67 percent).

The SOCIALscape report found the following social media platforms are most popular:

  1. Facebook 80%
    87 percent of online Canadians read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    39 percent of online Canadians post comments or content at least once per week.
    37 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  2. LinkedIn 45%
    44 percent Read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    13 percent Post comments or content at least once per week.
    10 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  3. Google+ 40%
    54 percent Read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    18 percent Post comments or content at least once per week.
    17 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  4. Instagram 39%
    77 percent Read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    32 percent Post comments or content at least once per week.
    24 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  5. Pinterest 36%
    46 percent Read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    11 percent Post comments or content at least once per week.
    16 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  6. Twitter 35%
    56 percent Read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    22 percent Post comments or content at least once per week.
    24 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  7. YouTube channel subscription 27%
  8. Snapchat 24%
    68 percent Read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    45 percent Post comments or content at least once per week.
    19 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  9. Own YouTube channel 13%
    49 percent of the general population reads or searches for information, content, posts, or comments from others on YouTube at least once per week.
    8 percent of the general population posts comments or content on YouTube at least once per week.
    8 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  10. Online discussion forum (excluding Reddit) 10%
    60 percent Read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    26 percent Post comments or content at least once per week.
    13 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  11. Own personal blog or website 8%
  12. Reddit 7%
    66 percent Read or search for information, content, posts, or comments from others at least once per week.
    24 percent Post comments or content at least once per week.
    21 percent of Canadians who use social media share or repost the posts or content of other people, organizations, or media at least once per week.
  13. Tumblr 7%
  14. Meetup 6%
  15. Flickr 6%
  16. Twitch channel subscription 3%
  17. Ask.Fm 2%
  18. Own Twitch.tv channel 1%

While some results are surprising, virtually every study we’ve seen has reported similar findings. For example, the Social Media Lab at Ryerson University recently released a report that found 94% of online Canadian adults have signed up for at least one social media platform. The most popular networks were Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.  A 2018 CIRA report found Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are most popular in Canada.

Canadian Social Media Use by Province

British Columbia

  1. Facebook 80%
  2. LinkedIn 47%
  3. Google+ 46%
  4. Instagram 40%
  5. Pinterest 40%
  6. Twitter 42%
  7. YouTube channel subscription 34%
  8. Snapchat 21%
  9. Own YouTube channel 18%
  10. Online discussion forum (excluding Reddit) 11%
  11. Own personal blog or website 9%
  12. Reddit 9%
  13. Tumblr 9%
  14. Meetup 12%
  15. Flickr 9%
  16. Twitch channel subscription 3%
  17. Ask.Fm 2%
  18. Own Twitch.tv channel 2%

Alberta

  1. Facebook 79%
  2. LinkedIn 52%
  3. Google+ 34%
  4. Instagram 44%
  5. Pinterest 42%
  6. Twitter 39%
  7. YouTube channel subscription 32%
  8. Snapchat 26%
  9. Own YouTube channel 14%
  10. Online discussion forum (excluding Reddit) 11%
  11. Own personal blog or website 6%
  12. Reddit 10%
  13. Tumblr 10%
  14. Meetup 7%
  15. Flickr 11%
  16. Twitch channel subscription 3%
  17. Ask.Fm 2%
  18. Own Twitch.tv channel 1%

Manitoba

  1. Facebook 74%
  2. LinkedIn 32%
  3. Google+ 33%
  4. Instagram 47%
  5. Pinterest 38%
  6. Twitter 35%
  7. YouTube channel subscription 23%
  8. Snapchat 22%
  9. Own YouTube channel 11%
  10. Online discussion forum (excluding Reddit) 5%
  11. Own personal blog or website 4%
  12. Reddit 7%
  13. Tumblr 11%
  14. Meetup 5%
  15. Flickr 2%
  16. Twitch channel subscription 3%
  17. Ask.Fm –
  18. Own Twitch.tv channel 1%

Saskatchewan

  1. Facebook 78%
  2. LinkedIn 42%
  3. Google+ 43%
  4. Instagram 39%
  5. Pinterest 42%
  6. Twitter 38%
  7. YouTube channel subscription 21%
  8. Snapchat 26%
  9. Own YouTube channel 11%
  10. Online discussion forum (excluding Reddit) 9%
  11. Own personal blog or website 7%
  12. Reddit 5%
  13. Tumblr 5%
  14. Meetup 2%
  15. Flickr 3%
  16. Twitch channel subscription 2%
  17. Ask.Fm 3%
  18. Own Twitch.tv channel 1%

Ontario

  1. Facebook 81%
  2. LinkedIn 52%
  3. Google+ 38%
  4. Instagram 43%
  5. Pinterest 37%
  6. Twitter 37%
  7. YouTube channel subscription 28%
  8. Snapchat 24%
  9. Own YouTube channel 13%
  10. Online discussion forum (excluding Reddit) 11%
  11. Own personal blog or website 11%
  12. Reddit 9%
  13. Tumblr 7%
  14. Meetup 8%
  15. Flickr 5%
  16. Twitch channel subscription 2%
  17. Ask.Fm 2%
  18. Own Twitch.tv channel 1%

Quebec

  1. Facebook 77%
  2. LinkedIn 34%
  3. Google+ 41%
  4. Instagram 27%
  5. Pinterest 24%
  6. Twitter 24%
  7. YouTube channel subscription 22%
  8. Snapchat 21%
  9. Own YouTube channel 8%
  10. Online discussion forum (excluding Reddit) 7%
  11. Own personal blog or website 6%
  12. Reddit 3%
  13. Tumblr 4%
  14. Meetup 2%
  15. Flickr 3%
  16. Twitch channel subscription 3%
  17. Ask.Fm 2%
  18. Own Twitch.tv channel 2%

Atlantic Canada

  1. Facebook 88%
  2. LinkedIn 42%
  3. Google+ 41%
  4. Instagram 41%
  5. Pinterest 47%
  6. Twitter 44%
  7. YouTube channel subscription 25%
  8. Snapchat 29%
  9. Own YouTube channel 16%
  10. Online discussion forum (excluding Reddit) 8%
  11. Own personal blog or website 5%
  12. Reddit 8%
  13. Tumblr 7%
  14. Meetup 2%
  15. Flickr 6%
  16. Twitch channel subscription 4%
  17. Ask.Fm 3%
  18. Own Twitch.tv channel 1%

Canadian Social Media User Demographics

The gender and age of social media users can play an important part in your social media marketing campaign. For example, if you’re marketing to senior women, you need to know they’re on Facebook, not Twitter.  Conversely, while Reddit usage may appear small, it has a younger audience and a much higher engagement level than more popular networks.

For social media, age matters,” reports CIRA. “While roughly equal numbers of 18-34 and 35+ year olds use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, younger users far outweigh their older counterparts on Instagram and Snapchat.”

The following user demographics are from the SOCIALscape report:

Canadian Social Media User Demographics 2018

Dig Deeper

Unfortunately, the general popularity of networks according to demographics and geography will only take you so far, as you attempt to reach your target market. It’s important to seek data that further enhances and defines your campaign. You can do that by utilizing your own usage data (gathered from your social media accounts) and website traffic/conversion analysis, as well as through industry benchmark statistics and competitive intelligence.

For example, industry adoption statistics are a useful indicator of what your competitors are doing. Following are the top five industries on Facebook in Canada as of June, 2018, according to SocialBakers.

  1. Retail
  2. Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) – Food
  3. Services
  4. eCommerce
  5. Fashion

The top 20 brands on social media in Canada posted 168 times on Facebook, 148 times on Twitter and 10 times on YouTube in June, 2018. They had 23,552 interactions on Twitter, eighty-two percent of which were “likes”, fifteen percent retweets and four percent replies. This kind of data can serve as a valuable benchmark, even if you have to estimate its comparative value based on the size of your company.

Note: SocialBakers data is from the total number of local fans for the largest 200 pages in Canada by fan count.

Fickle networks and a lack of active engagement makes it even more important to constantly test and tweak your social marketing campaigns. With the vast majority of online Canadians simply reading, you can no longer count on post or ad engagement as an accurate measure of success.

“69% read a social media platform daily and 85% do so at least once a week. However, just 22% post on a social media platform daily and less than half (42%) do so at least once a week,” states the SOCIALscape report. “Two-in-ten share or repost daily (21%), twice the number of members do so at least once per week (42%), three-fifths do so on a monthly basis (62%), and 81% repost a few times per year.”

Clicks, comments, posts, shares and “likes” are still indicators of success, but a lack of them doesn’t mean failure. A potential customer can read your post and go out and buy your product without you even knowing they learned about you on social media, for example.

Social media use in Canada has grown into a critical part of any marketer’s toolbox. However, using it strategically requires as much relevant data as possible, along with the ability to analyze that data as it pertains to your ideal customer.  Perpetual testing continues to be the most effective way to ensure your social endeavors are resonating with your target market, and ultimately maximizing sales conversions.

Sources:
CIRA.ca
SocialBakers.com
SOCIALscape 2018
Ryerson University Social Media Lab

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
2018 Report: Canadian Social Media Use Statistics
Social Media Use in Canada, 2017
Marketers Reveal Their Most Effective Social Marketing Tactics

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One Response to "2018 Social Media Use in Canada"

  1. TOM KEITH  August 2, 2018

    This is the third post I read in a row here about social media in Canada when I could only find drips and drabs everywhere else. I don’t know how you manage to find it all because I’ve spent hours in google trying to dig up same info for Canada with NO luck. I’m thankful for you today Melody!! LOL

    Reply

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