Nearly 50% of Canadians Use Social Networks

Canada's social networking penetration is 2nd highest in worldOn average, Canadians spend more time than Americans on social networks.  In 2011, Canada had the world’s highest social networking penetration (as a percentage of population).  While the U.S. will take top honors in this category in 2012 – by just a fraction of a percent (at 49.9% vs. Canada’s 49.3%)- Canadians have strongly embraced social sites and marketers are quickly moving into the social space.

An eMarketer report takes a look at the breakdown of social media demographics and preferences in Canada.  Every age group in Canada is well above the worldwide average for social media usage, though Canadian social network users ages 18-24 spend nearly twice as much time on social sites as users ages 55+.

LinkedIn: Use in Canada Rises 70% Year Over YearMore than 95% of social network users in Canada will log onto Facebook at least once a month in 2012, but other social networks – particularly LinkedIn – have also shown impressive growth.  According to LinkedIn, Canadian user numbers rose 70% from January 2011 to January 2012, reaching 5 million users. The professional social network is especially popular in business centers, with one in five people using LinkedIn in Toronto, and one in four doing so in Montreal.

The top five social networks in Canada include Facebook, Twitter, Windows Life Profile, LinkedIn and Tumblr.  Both Facebook (470 minutes per visitor) and Tumblr (105 minutes per visitor) ranked as the stickiest social networking sites.

Canada is also seeing its fair share of the worldwide growth in smartphone use – over 10 million Canadians will use smartphones this year.  Canada will closely trail the US when measuring smartphone users as a percentage of mobile phone users, with 46% vs. 47.7%.

The combination of high social networking penetration and rising smartphone use creates a great opportunity for social and mobile marketers in Canada. John Clinton, CEO of Edelman Canada, told eMarketer that “Social strategy is the question we get from clients more than anything else.”