Survey Sheds Light On Canadians’ Views Towards Social Media

A new survey released today shows that Canadian business leaders plan to invest more in social media in 2009, while increasing numbers of Canadians see social media tools as important for learning about products, services, organizations and brands.

Increased social media spend planned by marketers

The second annual Social Media Barometer survey, conducted by Pollara and com.motion, shows that 82 per cent of the Canadian business and marketing leaders who responded plan to spend as much or more on social media in 2009 compared to this year. That’s up from 51 per cent in the 2007 survey. Also, more than three quarters indicated that senior management supports greater investment in social media.

Interestingly, the only other communications discipline that showed a net increase in planned spending in 2009 was public relations, while banner, newspaper, radio, TV and magazine advertising show over a quarter of respondents plan to decrease spending in those disciplines.

Trends in marketers' planned media spend for 2009

This may be due, in some small part, to the other significant trend revealed by the survey…

Social media seen as more credible

The survey also gives some interesting insights into Canadian respondents’ use of social media.

While Facebook unsurprisingly rears its head as the top social network for Canadians (with 87 per cent of social media users having tried it), the survey showed that 13 per cent of social media users have tried Twitter.

One result that is surprising, though, is that the same proportion of respondents (65 per cent) rated social media tools as important for learning about products, services, organizations and brands as rated them important for developing relationships. Interestingly, in 2007 more people viewed social media as important for products than for relationships (59 per cent compared to 52 per cent).

Methodology concerns

With all that said, I need to offer a caveat around the methodology used for the survey.

This survey – on social media – was conducted online, which is akin to asking Democrats how they voted. It’s hardly surprising that people who responded to an online survey indicated they think online tools are important.

I would love to see this addressed in future surveys – as things stand the credibility and applicability of the results is reduced by the methodology. While the trends revealed here are useful, and the survey offers a useful insight into the views of online consumers, as it stands the results aren’t really translatable to Canadian consumers as a whole.

What do you think about the trends highlighted by the survey?

(Disclosure: com.motion and its parent company Veritas Communciations are competitors of my employer Thornley Fallis. Thanks to Keith McArthur for the information on the survey)

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.