Almost 90 percent of Canadians have an internet connection, according to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). Nearly all of them use social media to some extent, and 61 percent engage on social media every single day. Marketers and business owners are learning how to reach them and engage them, but first they need to find them.
Our annual report on social media use in Canada covers data gathered throughout the year, from various reputable sources that conduct proper research. The idea is to provide a big picture from a Canadian business perspective, to help guide and refine your social media marketing strategy.
2019 Canadian Social Media Usage Statistics
Canadians are leaders in social media usage and marketers have found it to be one of the best places to reach them. Even the Government of Canada has been exploring ways to use social media to inform and engage Canadians.
“It’s not just businesses, but also government…turning to social media to engage with Canadians and to share information,” Anatoliy Gruzd, Director of Research at the Ryerson Social Media Lab, told CBC Radio. “It’s quite important for those agencies to know what platforms they should focus on to reach the majority of Canadians, or to reach certain populations that they really want to target.”
The Most Popular Social Media Networks in Canada
Let’s focus on the majority first.
According to CIRA, the most popular social media networks in Canada are:
- Facebook 77%
- LinkedIn 35%
- Instagram 35%
- Twitter 26%
- Snapchat 19%
The Insights West 2019 Canadian Social Media Insights report says Facebook, Instagram and Reddit have increased their reach, although both Instagram and Reddit are growing more slowly in 2019.
StatCounter is a web analytics service that analyzes every page view referred by a social media site. They summarize all this data to get their Global Stats information. The following chart represents their Canadian social media usage data from May, 2018 to May, 2019.
Age is just a number on Facebook and Pinterest, where use is almost equal in every adult age group. Eighty-eight percent of Millennials use Facebook weekly, followed by GenX at 83 percent and 79 percent of Baby Boomers.
Pinterest use is led by GenX at 25 percent, followed by Baby Boomers at 21 percent and Millennials at 18 percent.
The use of YouTube is growing among Canadians who are over 50 years old. In 2019, you’ll find 72 percent of Millennials, 67 percent of GenX and 50 percent of Baby Boomers on YouTube.
Twitter use is similar across all age groups, with 30 percent of Millennials, 33 percent of GenX and 27% of Baby Boomers using the network weekly.
Reddit remains most popular among those who are 18-34 years of age, with little penetration into other age groups.
Instagram captivates 59 percent of Millennials, 36 percent of GenX and 23 percent of Baby Boomers in Canada.
Much like Reddit, Snapchat use in Canada is almost entirely Millennials, at 25 percent. Even GenX trails far behind at 7 percent, followed by Baby Boomers at 4%.
Canadian Men vs. Women on Social Media
A 2019 Simplii report found that women are more likely to:
- Use social media daily (75 percent vs. 62 percent for men)
- Share more instead of buy more (68 percent vs. 57 percent)
- Undertake do-it-yourself projects using digital tools like YouTube (41 percent vs. 26 percent)
- Incorporate digital into their fitness routines (25 percent vs. 20 percent).
Canadian Interactions with Businesses on Social Media
A significant 86 percent of Canadians interact with businesses on social media, to one degree or another. All age groups reported they spend over 80 percent of their social media time interacting with companies.
Canadians are big on following brands and businesses on social media as well:
- On Facebook, 59% follow companies
- Instagram 27%
- Twitter 17%
- YouTube 16%
- LinkedIn 9%
- Pinterest 7%
As of June, 2019, the top 10 Canadian YouTube channels are:
- My Bollywood Body
- Champs Sports
- Ford Canada
- Sport Chek
- McDonald’s Canada
- Kijiji Canada
- Garnier Canada
In ranking the number of personal interactions with companies online overall, Canadians say liking a Facebook page ranks fourth out of eight touch points, followed by other social media interactions.
- Website 71%
- Newsletters 46%
- Mobile device 37%
- ‘Like’ on Facebook 34%
- Talk about companies on Facebook 21%
- Talk about companies on Instagram 10%
- Talk about companies on Twitter 9%
- Talk about companies on LinkedIn 6%
Unfortunately, a growing portion of the time Canadians spend on social media is spent complaining to (or about) a business, primarily on Facebook and Twitter.
Fifty-four percent of Canadians complained about any of the following industries in 2019, up 17% from three years ago.
- Restaurants 21%
- Telecommunications 20%
- Ecommerce 14%
- Airlines 13%
- Tech 12%
- Hotels 12%
- Transit 10%
- Financial Institutions 10%
- Utilities 8%
- Other Retail 16%
- Other 9%
Companies need to ensure they have strong customer support, at least on Facebook and Twitter. The most cost-effective way to do that is by contracting remote staff. They should have a demonstrated ability to handle every situation in a volatile, public environment, without compromising your brand’s reputation. Invest in excellent training (which can also be done online), emphasize professionalism, define expectations, and make sure they have the authority and tools they need to quickly resolve issues. Public, online customer support requires a particularly delicate touch.
Interestingly, 48 percent of Canadians aren’t necessarily looking for a resolution, but they want to alert people to a bad experience. While some may vent regardless, it suggests the consumer may have tried to find a resolution with the company but were unable to do so. This further emphasizes the need to be available on social media so you can put out fires before they start.
Selling on Social Media
PayPal’s Social Commerce Trend Study reports 47% of Canadian social media users are shopping on social networks, spending an average of $77 per month. Canadian men are social shopping slightly more often than women.
The most frequently shopped networks among Canadians include:
- Facebook (29%)
- Snapchat (26%)
- Instagram (25%)
The most commonly-purchased items include:
- Fashion items (54%)
- Electronics (26%)
- Toys & games (21%)
- Home décor (20%)
- Event tickets (19%)
Fifty-two percent of Canadian social media shoppers admitted to impulse purchases. Fifty-four percent find it hard to resist buying something they love when they see it on social media.
eMarketer’s 2019 Social Commerce Report found that 33 percent of North American retailers conducted eCommerce through social media platforms in 2018.
“Whether it is added features and functionalities in apps like Instagram or Snapchat that help shoppers discover, research and purchase a wide array of products online or the rise of new social peer-to-peer marketplaces, like Depop and Poshmark – PayPal predicts that the popularity of social commerce in Canada will continue to rise and evolve.”
Marketing on Social Media in Canada
Targeted advertising can be creepy to those who don’t understand how it works, and even to those who do. While it may be effective, you could also be sounding alarm bells about privacy. The more aware people become of digital invasions of privacy, the more worried they become.
Social media privacy has been a hot news item lately as the major networks duke it out with Canadian lawmakers. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Sixty-five percent of social media users in Canada are worried that their behaviour is being tracked on the networks. If you use targeted advertising, try to educate consumers and be entirely transparent about how their information is used.
As Canada works toward a more secure and transparent digital environment, laws are being passed and enforced that may limit targeted advertising and the impact it has. Make sure you stay informed and be ready to change procedures to ensure compliance.
Social Media ‘Best Bet’ for 2019
As we become more and more immune to advertising, it’s getting tougher to catch the attention of Canadians on social media. Engaging them on top of that presents an even bigger challenge.
Working with influencers has proven to be the most effective and economical way to target consumers in a specific niche or demographic, outperforming even celebrity endorsements. They’ll often provide the most value for your marketing dollar and their message is much better-received than ads.
“Influencer marketing is now a critical, year-round component of the digital marketing mix,” says the 2019 Linquia State of Influencer Marketing report. “66% of marketers surveyed ran three or more campaigns last year and 42% now have an always-on strategy.”
The 2019 PayPal Social Commerce Trend Study survey found that 41 percent of Canadian social media users say they’re inspired by product and service recommendations from social media influencers. Additionally, 62 percent of Canadian social shoppers say they’re more inspired by the holiday gift recommendations they see on social media than they are by in-store promotions.
There are influencers for every budget, yet marketing professionals in Canada budget for up to 13 times more than influencers actually charge. That’s probably because decision makers believe the number of followers determines the amount of influence. Many studies have shown that influence is based on much more than the number of followers/subscribers. In fact, some data indicates that influencers with less followers offer a higher percentage of engagement. That’s especially true if you’re pursuing Canadian influencers, who will naturally have a smaller following by comparison to American influencers.
Business to Business (B2B) influencers will look different, since social media engagement in the B2B category is low by nature. That doesn’t mean the same logic won’t apply, however, it’s just less visible. If you can find a Canadian B2B social media influencer with an audience that matches your target market, you can maximize your conversions better than any other method of digital marketing.
It doesn’t matter if they have a large number of followers or how engaged they appear to be, because they’re your ideal consumer. The one engagement metric that can be telling is the number of people who clicked on a social media post. However, that metric won’t be visible to you when you visit the social media pages of business influencers, like other engagement metrics are (such as “likes” or “shares”).
Your Own Marketing Data is Most Important
With so many Canadians using social media and their demonstrated loyalty to their favourite networks, it’s become a critical part of any marketer’s toolbox. However, using it strategically requires as much current, relevant data as possible. Then you must 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 specific target market. It’s an ongoing process that requires constant attention.
Stay With Us
This post and insights will be continually updated throughout the year, as more stats and data become available. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when we add more data about how Canadians are using social media in 2019.
CIRA Canada’s Internet Factbook
Insights West 2019 Canadian Social Media Insights
Simplii Report 2019 Deep Dive on Digital Trends in Canada
2019 Linquia State of Influencer Marketing
PayPal 2019 Social Commerce Trend Study
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