eMarketer: Social Is Sticky for Companies in Canada

Marketers find efforts to reach social media-savvy consumers in Canada are starting to pay off

MARCH 28, 2012 – Canada’s early embrace of social networking has developed into an ingrained behavior for consumers and a lucrative channel for marketers looking to influence them.

In 2011, Canada ranked first globally in social media penetration as a percentage of population, according to eMarketer estimates, and will slip to second in that statistic by just a fraction of a percent in 2012, behind only the US.

More telling about the this country’s embrace of social sites is comScore’s June 2011 data showing Canadians well above the worldwide average and eclipsing Americans in terms of average time spent on social networks. This stickiness shows a deep engagement among Canadians with social tools and a ripe opportunity for brands that use smart tactics to engage this enthusiastic user base.

Breaking down the data further, by age group, shows a direct relationship between younger demographic groups and time spent on social networks. Social network users in Canada ages 18 to 24 spend almost twice as much time on social sites as social network users ages 55 and up, but every age group in Canada is above the worldwide average.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook is a major force for social networking in Canada. eMarketer estimates more than 95% of social network users in the country will log on to the site at least once per month this year.

This data may lead marketers to conclude that Facebook is the only platform that matters in Canada. But a closer look reveals that online social behaviors are interconnected more than ever before. LinkedIn Canada eclipsed 5 million users in January 2012, up nearly 70% from a year earlier, according to the company. Penetration was rising with particular force in major business centers such as Toronto, where one in five people were using LinkedIn, and in Montreal, with a user rate of one in four.

Canadian agencies are citing social strategy as a top priority for clients. This includes advice on what social platforms and tactics to invest in, but more importantly, how social strategy fits into the broader marketing mix.

“Social strategy is the question we get from clients more than anything else,” said John Clinton, CEO of public relations firm Edelman Canada. “We have focused on this notion of transmedia storytelling�our ability to leverage the different media spheres to speak to who we want to speak to. If people just hear a message from traditional media, they are not inclined to believe it. Or if they just hear it from social media, they are less inclined to believe it. But when they hear it from different sources and different channels, it becomes more credible in their world.”

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