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Half of all Canadians are using social media

By Daniel Kosir |

Social networking sites are quickly becoming the go-to method of online communication in Canada.

According to Ipsos' Canada Interactive Reid Report on Social Networking, 60 per cent of online Canadians and half of all Canadians now have a social networking profile. Just to be clear, that's roughly 17,139,200 people.

The survey also found that social media is no longer exclusively the realm of youth. While the 18 to 34 demographic are still the most likely to have a social networking profile (86 per cent), other age groups are increasingly connecting through social media. Around 62 per cent of Canadians aged 35 to 54 now have profiles, and in the 55 plus category the number is 43 per cent.

More social, more frequent

Though the survey results only show a 4 per cent increase from two years ago, the frequency in which people are using social networks has increased dramatically.

The number of online Canadians who say they visit social networking sites weekly has increased to 45 per cent, up from 35 per cent last year, and 30 per cent say they visit daily, up from 19 per cent.

Momentum also continues to grow, with 32 per cent of respondents saying they use their social networking profile(s) more than last year versus 15 per cent who say they use it less.
Among social media users, women tend to be more frequent social networkers, with 37 per cent of online Canadian women visiting sites at least once a day compared to 24 per cent of men.

Though there has recently been some suggestion in the media that social networking use is leveling off, particularly in industrialized countries, the numbers dictate that this is not the case in Canada.

"While the number of Canadians accessing online social networks may be peaking, the engagement in this platform has not diminished," says Steve Mossop, President of Ipsos Reid's Western Canada practice. "In fact, we continue to see dramatic increases in usage."

Social Media by the numbers 

Facebook continues to be the dominant social networking platform in Canada, with 86 per cent of Canadian social networkers having a profile.

However, Facebook's dominance is being challenged by Twitter and LinkedIn, both of which showed significant growth over the past year. The number of Canadians using Twitter has grown from less than one per cent in 2009 to 19 per cent today, and LinkedIn use has more than doubled from 6 per cent in 2009 to 14 per cent currently.

The survey also found that almost half (50 per cent) of Canadians with profiles on social media sites "like" or "follow" at least one brand or company, and among those who follow at least one brand, the average number of brands followed is 6.7.

These numbers have not gone unnoticed by the business world, as is evident by the surge of businesses who continue to develop and maintain a social media presence.

"A new era has dawned in the social networking space," says Mossop. "The first five years was about building awareness and usage around socializing, and consumers responded positively. The next five years will be about commercialization of social networking. Companies who understand and enter this space will gain a whole new way of interacting with and engaging their customers."

More information about the report can be accessed here.

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